In the illustration above, the stretch of river after the dam is essentially flat-lined. Natural flows have been artificially stabilized and with that, lifecycles and natural processes have broken down. Dots representing trees, fish, flowers, birds, crops and more are gone.
But what if the dots could be brought back? What if a dam could be located, designed and operated in ways that preserve or mimic natural flow patterns enough to keep a river healthy?
It’s possible. And The Nature Conservancy is leading the way. Our teams of experts in freshwater ecology and engineering are pioneering new solutions to complex problems,
like how to get hydroelectricity from a river without destroying fish supplies that people need for food and income.
Africa: When Good Floods Go Bad
For millennia, the Zambezi collected the summer rains from the highlands, swelling and then easing out of its banks into vast surrounding floodplains. These floodplains were the engines of productivity for both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as well as rural communities. Today the Zambezi Delta is a different place.
Eastern Seaboard: Letting Rivers Run
Three snapshots that show how the Conservancy is using creativity and collaboration to answer the question: Is it possible to balance the services our rivers provide when they are harnessed with the services they provide when they’re allowed to run free?
Florida and Georgia: Unlocking Locks and Dams
Read how the Conservancy worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to unlock hundreds of miles of passage – enabling fish species to migrate upstream to historic freshwater spawning habitat for the first time since the 1950s.