The Future of Dams Publications

Informing aquatic restoration decisions using environmental justice in New Hampshire
Chapman, S. T., Ashcraft, C. M., Hamilton, L. C., & Congalton, R. G.
July 2023

Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning. doi: 10.1080/1523908X.2023.2229247

Rapid viewshed analyses: A case study with visibilities limited by trees and buildings
Parent, J. & Lei-Parent, Q.
March 2023

Applied Geography. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2023.102942

Integrating public preferences with biophysical production possibilities: an application to ecosystem services from dam removal
Blachly, B., E. Uchida, and S. G. Roy.
March 2023

Ecology & Society. doi: 10.5751/ES-13739-280151.

A hedonic study of New England dam removals
Guilfoos, T., & Walsh, J.
October 2022

Ecological Economics doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107624

Damming news: Geospatial media discourse analysis of dams
Roy, S. G., McGreavy, B., Quiring, T., & Druschke, C. G.
September 2022

Environmental Management doi: 10.1007/s00267-022-01715-7

A review of small hydropower performance and cost
Klein, S. J. W., & Fox, E. L. B.
September 2022

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2022.112898

UAV and Structure-From-Motion Photogrammetry Enhance River Restoration Monitoring: A Dam Removal Study
Alexandra D. Evans, Kevin H. Gardner, Scott Greenwood, & Brett Still
April 2022

Drones doi: 10.3390/drones6050100

Navigating fish passage decisions during regulatory dam relicensing in Maine
Sarah Vogel & Jessica Jansujwicz
September 2021

Fisheries Management & Ecology doi: 10.1111/fme.12513

American eel personality and body length influence passage success in an experimental fishway
Matthew A. Mensinger, Allison M. Brehm, Alessio Mortelliti, Erik J. Blomberg, & Joseph D. Zydlewski
August 2021

Journal of Applied Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14009

The consequences of dam passage for downstream-migrating American eel in the Penobscot River, Maine
Matthew A. Mensinger, Erik J. Blomberg, & Joseph D. Zydlewski
August 2021

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences doi: 10.1139/cjfas-2020-0402

Un-dam the River? Public Opinion and Engagement with Issues of Dam Removal in New England
Diessner, Natallia Leuchanka
May 2021

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Complex interactions between society, ecology, and the economy have revealed a particularly challenging set of problems in the context of sustainability and sustainable development. Such problems are “wicked” in nature due to their high degree of uncertainty, lack of a shared definition, competing values, complex social-technical interactions, as well as the often contradictory institutional and procedural governmental regulations and frameworks. Such multi-issue, multi-party problems are prevalent in management of social-ecological systems, particularly those surrounding decisions about water resources—given that such problems cannot be tackled via a single discipline, scientists have called for production of new knowledge that informs policy making and advances societal needs. Sustainability science is a new frontier which can help organically integrate science, engineering, and planning, and ultimately support production of actionable science that helps find solutions to urgent human needs, inform long-term planning, and impact policy making at the intersection of human well-being and the protection of the planet’s life support systems. A sustainability science framework is useful for tackling problem-solving around “wicked” water resource management issues, such as decisions about dams.

New England, as much the rest of the world, has been subject to vast landscape alteration and ecological degradation over the past several hundred years. While some view dams as symbols of human ingenuity, others see them as symbols of colonization and environmental degradation. Given that thousands of these dams are reaching the end of their lifespan and pose safety risks, they present unique river restoration opportunities. However, alternative management decisions about dams, such as removal, are associated with various costs and benefits, or tradeoffs. As stakeholders are faced with decisions regarding the fate of aging dams in their communities, they are often confronted with contentious and polarizing arguments about what should be done with a particular dam. Stakeholders’ conflicting interests within the context of the social, ecological, and engineering complexities surrounding dams, often lead to unsuccessful negotiations that make it challenging to make progress toward shared sustainability goals.

This dissertation seeks to improve the current decision-making landscape about dams, and the hard-bargaining negotiation practices that often surround them, by bridging the science-policy divide via 1) addressing knowledge gaps about public and stakeholder perspectives, and 2) advancing collaborative decision-making theory and practice via design, implementation, and evaluation of a science-based role-play negotiation simulation, a novel process of knowledge production tested with stakeholders in New England. The dissertation structure is further organized into three distinct studies. Study 1 explores public opinion surrounding dams in New Hampshire within the context of four tradeoffs—findings reveal that the majority of respondents favor removing dams as opposed to keeping them for preservation of industrial history, property values, or flatwater recreation. Respondents favor keeping dams, however, if they are to be used for electricity generation via hydropower. Additionally, Study 1 results show that younger respondents, women, and liberal-leaning respondents are more likely to support dam removal, although this varies depending on the tradeoff.

The focus of Study 2 was to develop a stakeholder assessment for the state of New Hampshire to inform whether and how fostering a collaborative decision-making process is possible. Specific objectives for Study 2 were to identify 1) the stakeholder groups, priority interests, issues, and decision-making constraints, and 2) barriers and opportunities to fostering collaboration and desired project outcomes. Results from Study 2 reveal that stakeholders are open to collaborating and reimagining the decision-making landscape around dams, but need to overcome substantive and process-related barriers by focusing on opportunities around transparent and participatory decision-making, diversity of public participation platforms and modes of engagement, trust in science and among stakeholders, effective science communication, competent technical consultants, funding availability, and joint fact-finding.

Study 3 examined the extent to which science-based role-play negotiation simulations impact learning, use of science in decision-making, and innovative problem-solving around management of dams in New England. As part of this study, stakeholders engaged in a mock decision-making process (reflecting real-life institutional arrangements and scientific knowledge) for a set period. Tradeoffs between hydropower, fish passage, costs, cultural/historic benefits, recreation, and property values were at the center of this negotiation simulation. By playing an assigned role (different from the participant’s real-life role) while interacting with a computational model across a series of workshops in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, participants had a safe space to learn about each other’s perspectives, develop shared understanding about a complex issue, and collaborate on solving that issue. The role-play was evaluated using data from a mixture of questionnaires, interviews, concept mapping activities, and debriefing sessions. Results from Study 3 indicate that science-based role-plays lead to shifts in cognitive, normative, and relational learning. Results also reveal that stakeholders view immersive knowledge production processes, such as these role-plays, as salient and legitimate products (however, not without some criticism), suggesting that such products can contribute toward bridging the science-to-policy divide in issues surrounding dams. In summary, this dissertation uses mixed-methods to carry out applied, problem-oriented, solutions-driven, and user-inspired research that contributes toward the advancement of theory and practice of sustainability science, while helping address disciplinary gaps and shape decision-making around dams in New England and beyond.

A Bird’s Eye View of Stream Ecology: Evaluating Stream Condition and Restoration Impacts Using Drones, Structure-From-Motion Photogrammetry, and Machine Learning Methods
Evans, Alexandra
May 2021

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Administrative, technical, and financial barriers often prevent sufficient collection of data for stream restoration project evaluation (Roni & Beechie, 2012; Bernhardt et al. 2005; NRC 1992). This lack of evaluation and understanding of restoration impacts can lead to the same misinformed strategies being repeated across restoration sites (Sommerville & Pruitt, 2004). This is particularly relevant for dam management, as the river ecosystem response of dam management strategies, like removal, are not fully understood due to minimal pre-/post-removal studies (Foley et al. 2017; Hart et al. 2002; Poff & Hart, 2002). Stream restoration practitioners need ecological assessment approaches that are affordable, repeatable, objective, and logistically feasible to develop science-based restoration techniques. This dissertation demonstrates how ecological evaluation workflows that use consumer-grade drone imagery coupled with structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry provide an affordable, feasible, adaptable, and flexible solution to many of the challenges facing stream restoration, improving the frequency, accuracy, precision, and coverage of evaluations and improving our knowledge of ecological impacts from restoration practices. The first chapter explores how illustrative drone products (videos, orthomosaics, and 3D models), made using a simple structure-from-motion photogrammetry workflow, can be coupled with a visual stream ecological assessment protocol to provide a remote visual evaluation and ecological condition archive approach. The second chapter explores the intersection of drones, close-range remote sensing, and data science. The work demonstrates how hybrid feature sets derived from the drone RGB orthomosaics and digital surface models can be used to accurately map and quantify riparian vegetation structure via machine learning algorithms for conventional classification tasks that focus on classifying a single site, providing sufficiently accurate results with workflows amenable to use by restoration practitioners. The third chapter demonstrates how drone workflows for mapping and quantifying riparian vegetation structure as well as erosion and deposition throughout fluvial environments can be used to evaluate and monitor changes pre-/post-dam removal, using the Sawyer Mill dam removal project in Dover, NH, USA as a case study. The limitations and efficacies of the drone approaches vs. conventional ecological approaches are compared, and the study demonstrates how the drone approaches leverage the drone’s aerial perspective to provide holistic ecological evaluation data at a landscape scale.

Can science-informed, consensus-based stakeholder negotiations achieve optimal dam decision outcomes?
Song, C., Diessner, N. L., Ashcraft, C. M., & Mo, W.
March 2021

Environmental Development, 37, 100602. doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2020.100602

Using Remotely Sensed Sediment Supply, Transport, and Settling Proxies to Estimate Impounded Sediment Volumes at Dams in the Northeast
Olsen, Christopher
February 2021

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Hydrology.
Impounded sediment reduces reservoir storage capacity, which adversely affects dam functionality. For example, reduced capacity limits the ability of flood control dams to mitigate flood peaks, water supply dams to meet demands, and hydropower dams to produce adequate electricity during low flows. Larger sediment volumes also increase the risk of dam failure and increase the logistical complexity of dam removal, an increasingly popular ecosystem restoration method. A model to predict the impounded sediment volume would be useful for decision makers in a watershed or state that need to allocate limited resources to multiple dams. A cross-site comparison among 34 dams was conducted to examine how the volume of impounded sediment was related to sediment supply, transport, and settling. Proxies for sediment supply, transport, and settling were obtained from published datasets and remote sensing. Most methods used to remotely sense proxies were derived from previously published research, but this thesis also developed a novel remote sensing method for locating the position riverbanks. This novel method was found to accurately predict the location of riverbanks in several different river morphologies. Regression analysis was used to quantify relationships between the impounded sediment volume and sediment supply, transport, and settling proxies. Impoundment attributes such as the impoundment surface area, impoundment aspect ratio and dam age were the best predictors of the impounded sediment volume.

Science in Indigenous homelands: addressing power and justice in sustainability science from/with/in the Penobscot River
McGreavy, B., Ranco, D., Daigle, J. et al.
February 2021

Sustainability Science doi:  10.1007/s11625-021-00904-3

American Eel Behavior and Survival in an Impounded River System
Mensinger, Matthew
December 2020

Submitted to the University of Maine in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Conservation.
After beginning life in the Sargasso Sea, American eel enter river systems as juveniles and swim upstream in pursuit of freshwater habitat. Many encounter dams during this migration which act as barriers to upstream movement and limit eel establishment in headwater systems. Some dams have been retrofitted with fishways to improve watershed connectivity, but the individual selection imposed by these structures remains uncharacterized. We considered whether individual differences in behavior (i.e., personality) may be used to predict the propensity of juveniles to use a passage structure, suggesting that eel personality may predict access to habitat upstream of dams. Migrating, juvenile eels (n=63) were captured from a tidal tributary, and we measured the expression of bold and exploratory behaviors in classic animal personality assays (open field and emergence). Then we assessed the propensity for individuals to volitionally climb through a passage structure and assessed passage outcomes. Finally, we compared consistent behavioral tendencies and climbing propensity.

We show evidence for personality in young eels by demonstrating among-individual variation in bold and exploratory behaviors that were consistent across repeated trials in open field and emergence assays. Mean swimming speed in the open field was a predictor of climbing propensity; faster fish were less likely to climb through a passage structure. For successful climbers, climbing time was negatively associated with fish length, offering evidence for potential size-based selection on climbing ability during upstream passage at dams. Our results suggest strong potential for selective pressure on both climbing motivation and ability during fish passage Preventing a subset of individuals from accessing upstream habitat may have unintended consequences for both aquatic ecosystems and American eel populations.

Eels that successfully recruit to habitat upstream of dams may spend decades in freshwater systems before making a single, terminal migration to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. Therefore, individuals that ascended dams as juvenile, must navigate these same dams while moving downstream as mature adults, where passage is commonly associated with mortality and delay. We conducted a four-year acoustic telemetry study that characterized passage risks through two hydropower dams (West Enfield and Milford) in the Penobscot River, Maine, USA. We released tagged fish (n=355) at two sites, estimated survival and delay under variable river conditions, and compared performance among dammed and free-flowing river sections. Survival rates (standardized per river km) were lower at West Enfield (Φrkm = 0.984 ± 0.006 SE) and Milford (Φrkm = 0.966 ± 0.007 SE), compared to undammed River sections (Φrkm = 0.998 ± 0.0003 SE). This accounted for 8.7%, 14.2%, and 8.7% cumulative mortality through sections classified as West Enfield (4.4km), Milford (5.5km), or River (58.1km) respectively. Fish that already passed an upstream dam incurred higher downstream mortality compared to individuals without passage experience. Additionally, fish endured long delays at dams, and >10% of fish were delayed >24h. Low flows exacerbated the risk of mortality and delay. These results offer evidence for direct, latent, and sub-lethal consequences of dam passage for migrating eels.

Future Hydrological Failure Probability of Dams in New England Under Land Use and Climate Change
Iman Hosseini-Shakib
December 2020

ProQuest Dissertation or Thesis

Future Hydrological Failure Probability Of Dams In New England Under Land Use And Climate Change
Iman Hosseini-Shakib
December 2020

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Floods lead to the overtopping of dams which is the main cause of dam failures and can result in significant loss of lives and property. This study investigates how the hydrological failure probability of dams in New England may change with future changes in climate and land use. Non-stationarity of future precipitation caused by the anthropogenic climate change and altered watershed concentration times caused by anthropogenic alterations such as urbanization, industrialization or deforestation can impact the mechanisms of runoff production and transfer. This can potentially change the frequency, magnitude, or duration of floods. Therefore, due to different flood patterns and consequently different hydrological failure probability, dams in New England likely have very different future risk levels. As hydrological failure probability indicators, the magnitude and frequency, and duration of floods exceeding a threshold are used to determine the variability of hydrological failure probability. Aside from the historical measured and gridded climate and land use data, this study uses one high temporal- and spatial-resolution, dynamically downscaled climate change projection and 29 statistically downscaled climate change projections as well as four land use projections from “The New England Landscape Futures Project”. Results show that basin response in New England during high-flow events has not significantly changed during recent decades in spite of recent changes in climate and runoff generation mechanisms. Also, dammed basins with higher storage capacity are found to have a decrease in basin response and flood peaks while there is not enough evidence the significance of urban development on high-flow events in New England. It is likely that dams in New England experience higher levels of hydrological failure probability. This is because compared to historical data, future floods are likely to increase in magnitude and frequency, but they are not likely to last longer. Also, the results show more accentuated increase in the frequency compared to the magnitude of future floods. This study will help dam owners and state regulators plan for more resilient dam operations and more rigorous dam maintenance and account for the future risk associated with the approximately 15,000 dams in New England.

I’ll be dammed! Public preferences regarding dam removal in New Hampshire
Diessner, N. L., Ashcraft, C. M., Gardner, K. H., & Hamilton, L. C.
November 2020

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 8(1). doi:10.1525/elementa.003

Science in action or science inaction? Evaluating the implementation of “best available science” in hydropower relicensing
Vogel, S. K., Jansujwicz, J. S., Sponarski, C. C., & Zydlewski, J. D.
November 2020

Energy Policy, 143, 111457. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111457

Coordinated river infrastructure decisions improve net social-ecological benefits
Roy, S. G., Daigneault, A., Zydlewski, J., Truhlar, A., Smith, S. M. C., Jain, S., & Hart, D.
October 2020

Environmental Research Letters, 15(10), 104054. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/abad58

Human Dimensions Research for Informed Decisions About Aquatic Restoration in New Hampshire: Environmental Justice in Implementation of Compensatory Mitigation
Chapman, Simone
September 2020

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master in Science in Natural Resources: Environmental Conservation.
New Hampshire’s aquatic resources provide many important ecosystem services and values, such as recreation, wildlife habitat, flood storage, nutrient reduction, community identity and aesthetic enjoyment. However, the many competing interests that seek to benefit from New Hampshire’s aquatic resources present challenges for efforts to steward public aquatic resources in the public interest. This thesis presents findings about the environmental justice outcomes of New Hampshire’s compensatory mitigation program, the Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) fund, to inform aquatic restoration policy.

Previous studies have found evidence that aquatic restoration programs can lead to systemic resource relocation and patterns of inequality in outcomes. Using geospatial and statistical analyses, this research compares census-tract level socioeconomic data on specific demographic characteristics (minority population, low education, population density and income) with the spatial location of New Hampshire compensatory mitigation program sites. Census tracts are analyzed according to groupings at the state level and for two service areas with different population densities: the Merrimack and Middle Connecticut Service Areas. This research also applies a geospatial approach to recommend areas where outreach could be expanded to increase environmental justice communities’ participation in the ARM fund.

Consistent with previous compensatory mitigation and environmental justice literature, this research finds demographic characteristics are an important consideration for environmental justice. At the statewide census-tract level, I find that populations around mitigation sites are more likely to have a lower percentage of nonwhite populations, lower population density, and higher income, as compared to sites without mitigation sites. Populations around permit sites are also likely to have lower population densities. I also find that this level of analysis is important to recognize inequalities and inform natural resource management decisions. In contrast, to the statewide results, I find significant demographic differences within the relatively low population density Middle Connecticut region. For the Merrimack region, which is larger and more diverse, results are similar to the statewide analysis: I find that populations around mitigation sites are more likely to have a lower percentage of nonwhite populations. Unlike the statewide analysis, I find that populations around mitigation sites are more likely to have lower educational attainment and populations around permit sites are more likely to have higher incomes.

Then, I identified 26 environmental justice communities with aquatic restoration opportunities and found that almost half of these communities have participated in the ARM fund by submitting proposals to receive mitigation funding. Using an optimizing hot spot analysis and a heat map, I identified three environmental justice communities that have experienced significant wetland loss and to which the ARM Fund could target outreach: Manchester, Dover and Newington.

This thesis research is intended to provide guidance to state agencies, cities and towns, nongovernmental organizations, and others interested in advancing protection of New Hampshire’s aquatic resources. The analytic methods contribute to broader research into the human dimensions of water policy.

The Development, Validation, and Application of the Eelgrass Health Index
Nicholas Braun Anderson
September 2020

ProQuest Dissertation or Thesis

Human Dimensions Research for Informed Decisions About Aquatic Restoration in New Hampshire: Environmental Justice in Implementation of Compensatory Mitigation
Simone T. Chapman
September 2020

ProQuest Dissertation or Thesis

Exploring the Utility of Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) Products in Remote Visual Stream Ecological Assessment
Evans, A. D., Gardner, K. H., Greenwood, S., & Pruitt, B.
June 2020

Restoration Ecology. doi:10.1111/rec.13228

Balancing fish-energy-cost tradeoffs through strategic basin-wide dam management
Song, C., O’Malley, A., Zydlewski, J., & Mo, W.
June 2020

Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 161, 104990. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.104990

What Do We Know About What to Do With Dams? How Knowledge Shapes Public Opinion About Their Removal in New Hampshire
Chapman, S., Ashcraft, C.M., Hamilton, L.C., Gardner, K.H.
June 2020

UNH Scholars Repository (Carsey School of Public Policy)

Passage Performance of Alewife and American Shad in the Pawcatuck River, Rhode Island.
Haro, A.
June 2020

Memorandum prepared for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Coastal and  Partners Program. Brett Still and Art Gold facilitated URI support for this publication and 7 Future of Dams graduate students were recognized for their assistance with field work, data management and processing, and GIS mapping.

A Transdisciplinar ansdisciplinary Approach to Decision Suppor o Decision Support for Dams in the t for Dams in the Northeastern U.S. with Hydropower Potential
A Transdisciplinary Approach to Decision Support for Dams in the Northeastern U.S. with Hydropower Potential
May 2020

ProQuest Dissertation or Thesis

A Transdisciplinary Approach to Decision Support for Dams in the Northeastern U.S. with Hydropower Potential
Fox, Emma L.
May 2020

Submitted to the University of Maine in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the regulatory body that oversees non-federally owned dam operations in the United States. With more than 300 hydropower dams across the U.S. seeking FERC relicense between 2020 and 2029, and 135 of those dams within the Northeast region alone, it is prudent to anticipate and plan for such decision-making processes. Anyone may be involved in FERC relicensing; in fact, FERC solicits public comment and requires the licensee to hold a public hearing during the process. Parties may also elect to apply for legal intervenor status, allowing them a more formal entry into the relicensing process. However, there are two key barriers that may keep the public from participating in a dam decision-making process in an impactful way. The first of these barriers is access to information. Having access to the types of information that matters to FERC is important, because it allows the participant to communicate their support or concerns about the relicensing using the language of the process. In particular, participants other than the licensee may not have access to project economic information, so this is a focus in my research. The second barrier is capacity to participate in a way that impacts the process (i.e., institutional knowledge about what kinds of decision criteria (factors) and decision alternatives (project options), as well as relevant data, that FERC typically weighs in their decision making or has considered in the past). Actors not privy to license information (perhaps encountering difficulty in navigating the FERC eLibrary), lacking knowledge of FERC process conventions, or otherwise unfamiliar with hydropower dam schemes or operations have substantial hurdles preventing their effective participation. My research, situated in the sustainability science arena, addresses hydropower project cost and performance assessment and multi-criteria considerations for dam decision support. I lead the development and assessment of an online Dam Decision Support Tool aimed at addressing barriers to the hydropower dam decision-making process. My work demonstrates possibilities for tailoring decision tools to incorporate stakeholder perspectives into decision making about hydropower dams.

Modeling and Assessing the Sustainability of Dams in the United States
Song, Cuihong
May 2020

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Environmental Engineering .
Dam decision-making is often controversial as a choice has to be made between the benefits provided by dams (e.g., recreation, water supply, hydropower) and their potential negative impacts (e.g., effects on natural flow regime, impediment for fish migration). However, our understandings of such tradeoffs under a full range of dam management alternatives remain limited which hinders our ability to make sound and scientifically defensible dam management decisions. The diverse stakeholders involved in the decision-making process with varying perspectives and preferences could further exacerbate the difficulty of decision-making. To advance our knowledge in sustainable dam decision-making, this dissertation developed modeling tools to evaluate dam decisions based on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, hydropower generation, sea-run fish population, and management cost from both spatial and temporal perspectives. The developed model was further applied in role-paly simulation workshops to investigate the potential differences between scientifically optimized decisions and the negotiated consensus. The results revealed that although most hydroelectric dams have comparable GHG emissions to other types of renewable energy (e.g., solar, wind energy), electricity produced from tropical reservoir-based dams could potentially have a higher emission rate than fossil-based electricity. It is possible to simultaneously optimize energy, fish, and cost outcomes through strategic dam management actions. Basin-scale management strategies may outperform individual dam management strategies because the former can provide a broader set of solutions for balancing complex tradeoffs than the latter. Furthermore, diversification of management options (e.g., combination of fishway installations, dam removals, and generation capacity) may have the highest potential in balancing fish-energy-cost tradeoffs. Finally, dam management negotiation is helpful in facilitating decisions with more balanced outcomes but not necessary reflect the environmentally optimal outcomes.

Essays on Economics of Ecosystem Service from Dam Removal to Improve Decision Making
Blachly, Ben
May 2020

Submitted to the University of Rhode Island in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental & Natural Resources Economics.
Many dams throughout New England are approaching the end of their engineered lifespan. Individual dam owners and governments at various levels find themselves navigating decisions to repair, remove, or modify the aging infrastructure. These decisions have implications for the ecosystem services that depend on the presence or absence of dams. By coordinating the ecosystem service tradeoffs at large scales we can more efficiently utilize the productive capacity of river systems. Implementing a large-scale coordinated approach, however, requires understanding stakeholder preferences at different scales, and the willingness of decision makers to coordinate (or not). In this dissertation I address issues surrounding a coordinated approach to ecosystem service provision with the goal of facilitating better decisions. In the first chapter, I administer a choice experiment survey to study how environmental risk preferences interact with scale to determine willingness to pay for ecosystem services from dam removal. Improved understanding of scale-dependent preferences can allow nonmarket valuation estimates for ecosystem services to integrate more smoothly into decisions at a variety of scales. In the second chapter, I explore environmental federalism in dam removal decisions (i.e., whether state goals diverge from larger-scale optimization). I use matching and instrumental variable techniques to model the determinants of dam removal using a large, spatially explicit dataset. Results suggest that states consider border proximity when selecting dams for removal, indicating a need for new incentive structures to realize efficiency gains from coordination. In the final chapter, I study how a production possibilities model can be combined with public preference data from a choice experiment, expressed as indifference curves, to identify socially preferred ecosystem service outcomes from dam removal. I find that the approach is useful for pinpointing areas of agreement and disagreement between stakeholder groups with varying preferences.

Essays on Economics of Ecosystem Service from Dam Removal to Improve Decision Making
Ben Blachly
May 2020

ProQuest Dissertation or Thesis

Acting out our dam future: science-based role-play simulations as mechanisms for learning and natural resource planning
Diessner, Natallia Leuchanka, Ashcraft, Catherine M., Mo, Weiwei, Song, Cuihong, Hamilton, Lawrence C., Rogers, Shannon H., Gardner, Kevin H.
April 2020
Using Engaged Rhetorical Methods to Understand and Inform Collaborative Decision Making About Dams and Restoration in the Penobscot River Watershed
Quiring, Tyler
April 2020

Submitted to the University of Maine in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communication.
How do we understand what to do with rivers and dams? How might rhetoric, the ancient study of persuasion, inform and shape this understanding as it relates to river restoration practices? Ecological approaches to rhetoric provide ways for engaging in decision making about dams and river restoration. In this dissertation I present three projects that bring media discourse analysis, reciprocal case study, and cross-cultural digital rhetoric to sites of collaborative decision making about dams and rivers in the Penobscot River watershed (Maine, USA). In this place, the prominent Penobscot River Restoration reconfigured several hydroelectric dams to improve fish passage and hydropower generation. My collaborators and I explore what needs and opportunities remain for further action here and how community-engaged rhetorical ecology can advance decolonization and social-environmental justice.

In the first project, we ask how news media about dams portray river restoration and how these portrayals matter for ongoing collaboration and decision making. We use a rhetorical approach within transdisciplinary media discourse analysis to explore 30 years of newspaper coverage of dam removal, with particular focus on news media about the Penobscot Restoration. Our results show that news media have widely framed the project as a success based on technical and social outcomes and that this framing limits what we can understand about the complexities of restoration and ongoing needs that remain on this river. In this way, media analysis can reveal opportunities for further collaborative engagement.

In the second project, we build on the first to ask about other histories, futures, and stories that are left out of the dominant Penobscot Restoration success narrative. We advance an ethnographic case study approach where engaging across communities presents opportunities for changing how we do research. Doing research with community partners shifted our study from a retrospective focus to a focus on reciprocation--from looking back on past restoration activity to using research as a way of giving back to those who made the work possible. The results show how building relationships and opening up our research processes to this kind of reordering helps expand understandings of what we can work to restore.

In the third project, we explore where reciprocation can lead when advancing research projects in response to our partners' needs. We ask how digital approaches shape the opportunities for collaboratively composing alternative forms of media documentation for decolonization. In our analysis, we reflect on developing procedural digital ethics to support visual portrayals of Indigenous environmental science as a form of ongoing restoration practice. Our results show how this process relies on relationship building, cross-cultural dialogue, and flexible naming practices that reshape how we can collectively see our histories and work together toward socio-environmental justice.

Using Engaged Rhetorical Methods to Understand and Inform Collaborative Decision Making About Dams and Restoration in the Penobscot River Watershed
Tyler Quiring
April 2020

ProQuest Dissertation or Thesis

An interactive decision-making tool for evaluating biological and statistical standards of migrating fish survival past hydroelectric dams
Molina-Moctezuma, A. & Zydlewski J.
March 2020

River Research & Applications. doi: 10.1002/rra.3616

Language effects on bargaining
Weir, M. J., Ashcraft, C. M., Leuchanka Diessner, N., McGreavy, B., Vogler, E., & Guilfoos, T.
March 2020

PLOS ONE, 15(3), e0229501. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229501

Runoff Coefficients of High-flow Events in Undisturbed New England Basins
Iman Hosseini-Shakib, Kevin Gardner, & Anne Lightbody
February 2020

Authorea doi: 10.1002/essoar.10502249.1

“It’s just a cycle”: Resilience, poetics, and intimate disruptions.
McGreavy, B.
January 2020

Poroi, 12(1). doi:10.13008/2151-2957.1302

Fish Passage and Hydropower: Investigating Resource Agency Decision-making During the FERC Hydropower Relicensing Process
Vogel, Sarah
December 2019

Submitted to the University of Maine in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Conservation.
Hydropower dams represent a significant challenge for the successful migration of sea-run fish, many species of which are in decline. Most hydropower dams in the United States are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an independent federal agency responsible for granting 30 to 50-year licenses to projects for their continued operation. Licenses typically include conditions for the conservation of sea-run fish such as fish passage construction, operational changes, monitoring of effectiveness, and other mitigative conditions. While FERC remains the primary authority in licensing, the current regulatory framework stipulates input from other federal and state resource and regulatory agencies, many working from differing timeframes, varying levels of authority, and within the bounds of a complex legal system.

Outside of the relicensing process, modifications and improvements are not required unless prescribed in the original license or prompted by legal action (e.g., the listing of new species under the ESA). In effect, the relicensing process presents the most effective opportunity for agencies to influence dam operations. Due to accelerated construction of hydropower dams in the 1980s, many of the projects in Maine will require relicensing within the next decade requiring input from an array of federal and state agencies. When negotiating hydropower operations, agencies must make timely decisions and examine tradeoffs based on their respective and often competing authorities, values, and objectives. Using the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers in Maine as a model system, the overall goal of this research is to examine the hydropower relicensing process to: 1) identify and describe the role and authority of resource agencies during dam relicensing, 2) determine the factors that may affect the design and implementation of fish passage measures, and 3) highlight management and policy implications that may be used to inform fish passage decisions and future relicensing efforts. This research provides the historical context for fish passage in the study area and describes hydropower regulation.

The first chapter uses content analysis of relicensing documents readily available on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) eLibrary to identify the main factors that influence fish passage decision-making and describe patterns in agency engagement during relicensing. Our results indicate an overall increase in concern for fish passage over time with mitigation measures focused almost exclusively on Atlantic salmon and American eel. Agency engagement and the use of regulatory authority increased after the 1900s, especially with regards to the use of Water Quality Certification conditions as a tool for addressing fish passage. Overall, hydropower projects were found to differ along a spatial gradient with coastal projects correlated strongly to fish passage language and input from the Maine Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and inland projects to input from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). Despite stated interest in basin-scale planning, policies in support of it, and continued improvement, implementation has been slow at best. Our results suggest there remain significant opportunities to spatially integrate the FERC process.

The second chapter investigates the concept of “best available science” (BAS) as it applies to the relicensing decision process. Agency regulators are tasked with using the BAS to make informed decisions about hydropower operations and management. Although embraced as the standard, best available science is not well-defined and is inconsistently applied. Citation analysis and an online survey of regulatory and resource agency staff were used to identify the informational sources used in relicensing and assess agency perceptions of BAS. Analysis of relicensing documents (n=62) demonstrates that FERC and licensee documents (i.e., documents produced by the individual or organization that was granted the license) are highly similar in citation composition. NOAA reports typically cite more sources and are three times more likely to cite peer-reviewed literature than FERC and licensee documents. Survey data reveals that federal and state agency respondents (n=49) rate peer-reviewed literature highly in terms of BAS, followed by university (e.g., theses), agency (e.g., agency grey literature), and expert sources (e.g., guidance from experts), while industry (e.g., consultant reports) and community (e.g., comments and personal interactions) sources rate poorly. Overall, there is low agreement among respondents with regards to BAS rankings of informational sources. The reported differences in information use may be linked to disparities in access to certain sources, particularly peer-reviewed literature. A common concern expressed by agency staff is the lack of applied technical information for all aspects of dam operations.

One such disparity relates to the difficulty in assessing downstream passage for out-migrating juvenile fish. The final chapter addresses this knowledge gap by describing the development of a novel buoyancy conversion (BC) tag that may be used to facilitate fish recapture for passage assessments. The BC tag uses low-cost materials, does not significantly hinder fish movement, and has a delayed deployment. This chapter provides a detailed description of the BC tag and describes the process used to optimize the tag for a range of fish sizes, specifically for juvenile river herring. This work is intended for the public domain and is meant to be highly adaptable for use with many fish species and life stages.

Getting Over the Dam: Overcoming Institutional Barriers to the Recovery of Atlantic Salmon by Navigating the Social-science/policy Interface
Flye, Melissa E
December 2019

Submitted to the University of Maine in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
The term governance has undergone somewhat of an evolution since its inception, originally describing the act of governing, it has come to represent a more collaborative form of governing which is distinct from hierarchical control models (Marin and Mayntz, 1991). Collaborative governance refers to the systems associated with public policy decision making and resource management which span the jurisdictional boundaries of public agencies, levels of government, and/or public and private spheres in order to pursue a public policy goal or outcome (Emerson et al., 2012). Environmental management is often considered an inherently collaborative effort, as ecological systems and species rarely fall neatly within political or other human constructed boundaries (Bodin, 2017a).

Collaborative environmental governance systems can be a response to joint-jurisdictional management, where multiple managing organizations have legal jurisdiction over a species or system. This is often the case with species listed under the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA). Collaborations can also aid in dealing with the challenges of operating in a resource limited world. By forming collaborative governance structures, organizations aim to leverage resources, expand knowledge of the system, and avoid working at cross-purposes (Emerson and Nabatchi, 2015; Ulibarri and Scott, 2017). Whatever the original motivator, there are practical challenges associated with implementing a collaborative governance structure, and the success with which these structures operate varies greatly (Emerson et al., 2012).

Using the Atlantic Salmon Recovery Framework (ASRF) as a mixed-methods case study, we aim to further our understanding of communication, collaboration, institutional capacity for change, and barriers and opportunities for collaboration through Communication Network Analysis (CNA) and semi-structured interviews with members of the ASRF. The Gulf of Maine (GOM) Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic salmon (DPS) is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Maine Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), and the Penobscot Nation (PN). Individuals from these four organizations make up the ASRF, the current governance structure for Atlantic salmon management and recovery in the state of Maine.

In chapter 2, we describe the theoretical frameworks, methods, results, and significant implications of the CNA we conducted. 95% (N=41) of the individuals identified as members of the ASRF (N=43) participated in an online sociometric survey. The sociometric survey asked participants about their position within their organization and the ASRF, how long they have worked in Atlantic salmon management and/or recovery, the frequency with which they communicate with other members of the ASRF, and the productivity of those communications, using open and close-ended questions. In chapter 3, we describe the theoretical frameworks, methods, results, and significant implication of the semi-structured interviews we conducted. 68% (N=28) of individuals who were invited (N=41), participated in a semi-structured interview. The semi-structured interviews focused on member perceptions of ASRF operations, procedures, strengths, weaknesses, and power dynamics.

The CNA reveled that there is relatively high network density for individual communication (56%), but that connections are decentralized, a characteristic that can be incompatible with some organizational structures. Challenges reported by members fit into three general categories; 1. slow and ineffective decision-making, 2. confusion surrounding leadership and accountability, and 3. low adaptive capacity. The semi-structured interviews suggest that the lack of integration across organizations could be due in part to members reporting issues associated with leadership, operational transparency, lack of trust, and perceived differences in management styles and objectives. The lack of leadership was evident in both the CNA and interview data. As the managing organizations work to restructure the ASRF, the results and recommendations provided in this thesis have served as a valuable tool in identifying strengths, weaknesses, institutional barriers, and capacity of change.

Bieluch, K.H., McGreavy, B., Silka, L., Strong, A., and Hart, D.D.
November 2019

In Developing Change Agents Edited by Kristi L. Kremers, Alexander S. Liepins, and Abigail M. York.  EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-946135-57-5

A temporal perspective to dam management: influence of dam life and threshold fishery conditions on the energy-fish tradeoff
Song, C., & Mo, W.
September 2019

Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s00477-019-01726-7

Forging future organizational leaders for sustainability science
I. J. Gordon, K. Bawa, G. Bammer, C. Boone, J. Dunne, D. Hart, J. Hellmann, A. Miller, M. New, J. Ometto, S. Pickett, G. Wendorf, A. Agrawal, P. Bertsch, C. D. Campbell, P. Dodd, A. Janetos, H. Mallee and K. Taylor
July 2019

Nat Sustain 2, 647–649 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0357-4

What to Do With Dams: An Assessment of Public Opinion to Inform the Debate in New Hampshire
Diessner, N.L., Ashcraft, C., Gardner, K., & Hamilton, L.
July 2019

Many of New Hampshire’s dams are reaching the end of their lifespan and require expensive maintenance or removal in order to meet safety standards. While engineers and public officials struggle with the scale of the challenge surrounding various dam management alternatives, including removal, what does the New Hampshire public think? In this brief, authors Natallia Leuchanka, Catherine Ashcraft, Kevin Gardner, and Lawrence Hamilton present results from statewide surveys in New Hampshire that explore public views about dam removal. They report that a majority of respondents in three Granite State Polls prefer to remove dams when the alternative is to keep them for maintenance of waterfront property values, preservation of industrial history, or maintenance of lake- and pond-based recreation. A majority of survey respondents prefer to keep dams when dams are for hydropower generation. Respondents’ age, gender, and party affiliation often predict their preference for dam removal. Levels of formal education do not make much difference. Younger respondents, women, and Democrats are more likely to support dam removal, although this varies somewhat depending on the tradeoffs.

Observations of American Shad Alosa sapidissima Approaching and Using a Vertical Slot Fishway at the Head‐of‐Tide Brunswick Dam on the Androscoggin River, Maine
Weaver, D. M., Brown, M., & Zydlewski, J. D.
July 2019

North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 39(5), 989–998. doi:10.1002/nafm.10330

Managing dams for energy and fish tradeoffs: What does a win-win solution take?
Song, C., Omalley, A., Roy, S. G., Barber, B. L., Zydlewski, J., & Mo, W.
June 2019

Science of The Total Environment, 669, 833–843. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.042

Evaluating core competencies and learning outcomes for training the next generation of sustainability researchers
Roy, S. G., de Souza, S. P., McGreavy, B., Druschke, C. G., Hart, D. D., & Gardner, K.
June 2019

Sustainability Science. doi:10.1007/s11625-019-00707-7

Role-Play Simulations and System Dynamics for Sustainability Solutions around Dams in New England
Diessner, N.L., Song, C., Ashcraft, C., & Mo, W.
May 2019
People and Conflicts in Dammed New England Landscapes: From a Stakeholder Assessment to a Science-Based Role-Play Simulation
Diessner, N.L. & Ashcraft, C.
April 2019
Introduction to the Pearl River Negotiation Simulation: Negotiating the Future of Dams (video)
Diessner, N.L., Song, C., Ashcraft, C., & Mo, W.
April 2019
River Reach Restored by Dam Removal Offers Suitable Spawning Habitat for Endangered Shortnose Sturgeon
Johnston, C., Zydlewski, G. B., Smith, S., Zydlewski, J., & Kinnison, M. T.
December 2018

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. doi:10.1002/tafs.10126

A multiscale approach to balance trade-offs among dam infrastructure, river restoration, and cost
Roy, S.G., Uchida, E., de Souza, S.P., Blachly, B., Fox, E., Gardner, K., Gold, A.J., Jansujwicz, J., Klein, S., McGreavy, B., Mo, W., Smith, S.M.C., Vogler, E., Wilson, K., Zydlewski, J., & Hart, D.
November 2018

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201807437. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1807437115.

A dam passage performance standard model for American shad
Stich, D. S., Sheehan, T. F., & Zydlewski, J. D.
July 2018

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 76(5), 762–779. doi: 10.1139/cjfas-2018-0008

Cradle-to-grave greenhouse gas emissions from dams in the United States of America
Song, C., Gardner, K.H., Klein, S.J.W., Souza, S.P., & Mo, W.
July 2018

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 90, 945–956. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2018.04.014

Does What Goes up Also Come Down? Using a Recruitment Model to Balance Alewife Nutrient Import and Export
Barber, B. L., Gibson, A. J., O’Malley, A. J., & Zydlewski, J.
April 2018

Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 10(2), 236–254. doi: 10.1002/mcf2.10021

Dam Removal and Fish Passage Improvement Influence Fish Assemblages in the Penobscot River, Maine
Watson, J. M., Coghlan, S. M., Zydlewski, J., Hayes, D. B., & Kiraly, I. A.
April 2018

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 147(3), 525–540. doi: 10.1002/tafs.10053

I’ll Be Dammed! Public Preferences and the Future of Dams in New Hampshire
Diessner, N.L., Hamilton, L., Gardner, K., & Ashcraft, C.
April 2018
Slow and deliberate cooperation in the commons
Brozyna, C., Guilfoos, T., & Atlas, S.
April 2018

Nature Sustainability, 1(4), 184–189. doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0050-z

Tracing Rhetoric and Material Life: Ecological Approaches
McGreavy, B., Wells, J., McHendry, G.F., & Senda-Cook, S. (Eds.)
January 2018

Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-65711-0.

The Complexities of Counting Fish: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Fish Monitoring
Bieluch, K.H., Willis, T., Smith, J., & Wilson, K.A.
November 2017

Maine Policy Review, 26.2: 9-18.

Centring fish agency in coastal dam removal and river restoration
Druschke, C.G., Lundberg, E., Drapier, L., & Hychka, K.C.
October 2017

Water Alternatives, 10(3): 724-743.

Communicating about Hydropower, Dams, and Climate Change
Lundberg, E., Gardner, K., Gottschalk Druschke, C., McGreavy, B., Randall, S., Quiring, T., … & Hart, D.
September 2017

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.442.

Opportunities for resilient communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure by optimizing management of New England dams
Samuel Roy, Bridie McGreavy, Tyler Quiring, Emi Uchida, Karen Wilson, Sharon Klein, Emma Fox, Joseph Zydlewski
August 2017

Resilience 2017 Conference Proceedings. Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Sweden, August 20-23, 2017.

How do we decide what to do with dams? Dynamic Design Planning (DDP) to shape collaboration for sustainability science
Bridie McGreavy, Tyler Quiring, Samuel Roy, Karen A. Wilson, Simone Souza, David Hart
August 2017

Resilience 2017 Conference Proceedings. Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Sweden, August 20-23, 2017.

Understanding the Cradle-to-Grave Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Dams
Mo, W., Gardner, K., Klein, S., Song, C., & Pereira de Souza, S.
June 2017

Conference proceedings from the Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professors (AEESP) Research and Education Conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, June 21-22, 2017.

Adaptive Management of Urban Ecosystem Restoration: Learning from Restoration Managers in Rhode Island, U.S.A.
Druschke, C.G., & Hychka, K.C.
May 2017

Society and Natural Resources, 1–16. doi:10.1080/08941920.2017.1315653

Sustainability Science and Climate Change Communication
McGreavy, B., & Hart, D.
May 2017

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.563.

Size selection from fishways and potential evolutionary responses in a threatened Atlantic salmon population
Maynard, G.A., Kinnison, M.T., & Zydlewski, J.D.
May 2017

River Research and Applications, 33(7), 1004–1015. doi: 10.1002/rra.3155.

Acting and Modeling the Future of Dams: Knowledge Production Processes in Sustainability Science
Diessner, N.L., Ashcraft, C., Mo, W., & Song, C.
April 2017
Thinking Ecologically About Rhetoric’s Ontology: Capacity, Vulnerability, and Resilience
Stormer, N. & McGreavy, B.
February 2017

Philosophy and Rhetoric 50(1), 1-25. doi: 10.5325/philrhet.50.1.0001

Will Dam Removal Increase Nitrogen Flux to Estuaries?
Gold, A., Addy, K., Morrison, A., & Simpson, M.
November 2016

Water, 8(11), 522. doi:10.3390/w8110522

Mobilizing the power of higher education to tackle the grand challenge of sustainability: Lessons from novel initiatives
Hart, D.D., Buizer, J.L., Foley, J.A., Gilbert, L.E., Graumlich, L.J., Kapuscinski, A.R., ... & Silka, L.
February 2016

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, 4, 000090. doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000090

Why rhetoric matters for ecology
Druschke, C.G., & McGreavy, B.
February 2016

Frontiers Ecology and the Environment, 14(1), 46–52. doi: 10.1002/16-0113.1

Practice at the Boundaries: Report from a workshop of practitioners working at the interfaces science, policy and society for environmental outcomes
Wyborn, C., Bednarek, A., Meyer, R., Parris, A., Leith, P., McGreavy, B., & Ryan, M.
January 2016

Technical Report. Luc Hoffmann Institute, Pew Charitable Trusts, California Ocean Science Trust, Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica

The Skunkwork of Ecological Engagement
Ackerman, J.A., Druschke, C.G., McGreavy, B., & Sprain, L.
January 2016

Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning, 16(1), 75-95

Service learning and environmental communication: Communicating a case study of the Penobscot River Restoration Project
McGreavy, B.
January 2016

Technical report provided to the Campus Compact and Campuses for Environmental Stewardship program

Manager Perspectives on Communication and Public Engagement in Ecological Restoration Project Success
Druschke, C.G. & Hychka, K.C.
January 2015

Ecology and Society, 20(1), 58. doi: 10.5751/es-07451-200158