Re-thinking hydro dam management: A conservation tool for preserving of Nova Scotia’s important freshwater habitats.


The implementation of hydroelectric power over the past 100 years in Nova Scotia has resulted in changes to the habitats of many important species. In the watersheds where hydro dams have been constructed, plant, fish and animal habitat have all been impacted to some extent. Although some of these impacts have been positive (the creation or reservoirs have made good fish habitat for example), degradation in the habitat of many species has also been documented. However it may be possible to manage hydro dam infrastructure in such a way that these important habitats are preserved or even recovered. Nova Scotia Power has a good record at considering the habitat needs of many species, and is active in the recovery planning for many endangered species. However it is a challenge to consider the needs of the broad range of species affected by hydro dams, while also managing the dams for efficient power production. A comprehensive study of Nova Scotia’s hydroelectric systems is needed to identify the species that are affected, and discern how to manage for the conservation or recovery of their habitat. The objective of this project is to research and develop management strategies that could be used by Nova Scotia Power to manage their hydro dams in a way that is more conducive to species and their habitat needs, while also meeting their electricity production targets. In this project, research efforts will be concentrated on three watersheds where rare and sensitive species are known to live, and hydro development has taken place: The Tusket river watershed, the Mersey river Watershed, and the Nictaux river watershed.


Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Michelle Adams


Scott Dickey


Nova Scotia Power Inc.


Resources and environmental management


Environmental industry


Dalhousie University



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