McGillicuddy`s presentation - Southwest Stream Restoration

Report
Challenges and
opportunities for dam
removal projects in Texas
Lessons that can be learned from
other states
Ryan McGillicuddy – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Stronach Dam, Fish in the Pine River, MI
Background
Nationwide:
• 75,000 dams listed on the
National Inventory of
Dams
• Estimated 2.5 million
nationwide
Texas:
• Over 7500 dams listed on
the National Inventory of
Dams
• 1000s more
undocumented dams
• 74 dams failed in Texas
between 1989 and 2009.
Benefits of Dams
•
•
•
•
•
Water supply
Hydropower
Flood control
Navigation
Recreational
opportunities
Starcke Dam, Marble Falls, TX. 2007 Flood
Impacts of Dams
•
Alter fish and wildlife habitats
and natural fluvial processes
– Alter the dynamic transport of
water and sediment
– Barrier to passage of nutrients
and aquatic organisms
– Change water temperatures
– Contaminated sediments
– Floodplain isolation and reduced
peak flows
– Shift from lotic to lentic habitat
less suitable for native species,
increases generalist species and
may decrease diversity
•
•
•
Aging infrastructure poses risk
to property and safety.
Life expectancy of the average
dam is 50 years. Average dam
age in the U.S. is 51 years.
Many dams are now obsolete
Dam Removal: A New Option
• Once perceived as anti-progress
• Increasingly accepted as an option for restoring
waterways
• Advancing science documenting effects of removal
• Successful projects have brought visibility, provided
positive examples
• Costs are better understood:
– Wisconsin, repair 3X the cost of removal
– Pennsylvania, average cost of $75,000
• Nonetheless, a difficult process requiring the
coordination of multiple stakeholders and regulatory
agencies
According to American Rivers:
• 1,057 recorded dam
removals in the US
• 593 since 1999
• 63 in 2012
• Pennsylvania alone
has removed ~275
since 1999, and ~50
since 2010
• No recent removals
in the Southwest
Englewood Dam, Englewood, Oh
Questions
• How do state programs regulate dam
removal and to what extend do they assist
in the process?
• What are the variables that lead to
success?
• What can Texas learn from these
successes?
Study Area
• Examined efforts in
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New
Hampshire, and Texas.
• Mostly small and/or obsolete
dams
Variables Reviewed
• Legal framework/Permitting process
• Agency structure and interagency
coordination
• Technical guidance provided
• Availability of funding and/or
financial assistance
• Public outreach and stakeholder
involvement
Successful Practice
States that use this practice
Single Permit Application
NH, PA, WI
USACE State Programmatic General
Permit
NH, PA, WI
Comments
Simplifies process for dam owner. A
permit waiver in the case of PA.
Satisfies federal Clean Water Act
permitting requirements.
Required by law in states listed. May help
Public Notice Period
PA, WI
to address stakeholder concerns early in
process.
Single Point of Contact
NH, PA, WI
Active Dam Safety Program
NH, PA, WI
Simplifies process for dam owner.
Helps to identify potential projects. Can
acts as a form of outreach.
Enables consistent approach from state
Regular Interagency Coordination
NH, PA, WI
regulatory bodies, state fish and wildlife
agencies, federal agencies, historic
commissions, etc.
Assistance with Project Design
PA, WI
Multiple Guidance Documents Available
NH, WI
Consistent State Funding
PA, WI
May reduce project costs for dam owner.
Provides important information to dam
owners and stakeholders.
Directly assists dam owners and increases
number of successful projects.
Essential for reducing costs to state and
Skilled Grant Coordination
NH, PA, WI
dam owners. Increases number of
successful projects.
Partners may act as advocates where
Partnerships
NH, PA, WI
states cannot and may be sources of
additional funding. Helps to distribute
work load.
Other considerations for Texas
Geography: Surface water
Paddlefish (Polydon spathula)
Giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium carcinus)
Shovelnose Sturgeon
(Scaphirhynchus platorynchus)
American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)
Species with lifecycles impacted by dams
Water Rights
Drought
Funding
• Grant TCEQ authority to levy fines for dam
safety violations.
• Increase funding for dam safety program,
including grants for dam owners with limited
means.
• Fishing license surcharge ($1) for river
restoration projects, including dam removal.
Approximately $2 million.
• All require legislative action.
Funding, cont’d
• Improved technical assistance from agencies
(project design, grant writing assistance, etc.)
should lower cost.
• Partnerships
•
•
•
•
Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
Desert Fish Habitat Partnership
Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative
Local watershed groups
• Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)
funds
• USFWS Fish Passage Program
Fish Passage Program
Ottine Dam removal project. San Marcos River, Ottine, TX
Mitigation Banks
• Used to offset permitted impacts to
waters of the U.S.
• For-profit model
• Increasing number of stream restoration
banks in Texas
• Limitations:
• Small order streams
• Existing policy does not favor in-channel
restoration
Questions?

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