Dr. Kelly Whealan George
Second Advisor Name
This paper seeks to answer the question: To what extent do hydropower plants affect the surrounding environment? Through a literature review and personal accounts found on blogs and website articles, there were many conclusions that came from this research. A review of the literature indicated that use of hydropower influences the ecology around the plant. The power plant’s redirection of the river's water flow and reservoir submergence cause many problems for the surrounding environments. Hydropower plants can change the landscape due to the fact that the water they use is no longer providing the right nutrients to the previously flourishing landscape as a result of the rerouting of rivers. Specifically, the hydroelectric power plants affect soil sediment around the plants, destroys habitats, impacts certain fish migration patterns, and ruins water quality. The plants were also found to uproot flora, change the sediment content and cause erosion, disrupt nesting grounds, and change whole migration patterns of some birds. These factors all contribute to the negative effects of hydropower on the nearby ecosystems. Research has identified that the change caused by the redirected and distributed water flow affects animals and vegetation in the adjacent areas and, eventually, leads to the destruction of habitats. The researcher briefly researched how this could affect eco-tourism, which was found to be quickly growing and a huge part of Iceland's economy. These effects also play a negative role in Iceland's nature tourism industry, as it is changing much of the wildlife sought out by these tourists.
It must be stated above all that plants do have a great negative effect on the environment and surrounding ecology.
How can this problem be mitigated? A few suggestions made were to move the plants to more isolated countries or implement nature preservation programs directly correlated to the plants. There have been few speculations on how to mitigate the effects of the power plants on the animals that reside in the water areas around the plant. One of the suggestion is to make “small adjustments to river flow regimes might help to restore river ecosystems” (Poff & Schmidt, 2016).
Further research also suggested since not many studies were conducted on this topic, especially ones that were originally written in English.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Villamagna, O. (2018). Literature Review: Hydropower and Iceland's Environment. , (). Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/student-works/74