Conserving river biota will require innovative approaches that foster and utilize scientific understanding of ecosystem responses to alternative river-management scenarios. We describe ecological and societal issues involved in flow management of a section of the Tallapoosa River (Alabama, U.S.A.) in which a species-rich native fauna is adversely affected by flow alteration by an upstream hydropower dam.
This essay highlights the necessity for the establishment of new instream flow standards, as well as the revision of existing standards. This presents a problem since the standards themselves cannot be defined scientifically. The authors recommend the implementation of an adaptive management program involving three elements; setting conservative interim standards; establishment of an adequate monitoring program involving active manipulation flows; and establishment of effective procedure to revise the interim standards. The program details should vary from case to case, especially for species like salmon, where adult populations depend on a myriad of factors, not simply instream flows. Examples of current and previous uses of these standards are given.
American Rivers produced abstract