A Quick Lesson in Environmental Flows

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When a river has been dammed, one of the most obvious changes is the disruption to the amount and timing of its flow. “Environmental flows” is a system for managing the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows below a dam, with the goal of sustaining freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods that depend on them. The most ecologically important aspects of a river’s flow are extreme low flows, low flows, high flow pulses, small floods, and large floods. Environmental flows can be designed to restore any of these, with the goal of improving water quality, restoring sediment deposition, addressing the life-cycle needs of fish and wildlife, and restoring the livelihoods of river-based communities. Check out our infographic for a quick lesson on environmental flows.