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The history of the use and effectiveness of instream structures in the United States

By
Douglas M. Thompson
Douglas M. Thompson
Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geophysics, Connecticut College, Campus Box 5585, 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, Connecticut 06320, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2005

Abstract

The use of instream structures, devices designed to improve fish habitat, began as early as 1880 in the United States and continues today. The practice of stream improvement was partially motivated by the desire to compensate for overfishing problems. Many of the practices that involve the use of instream structures emerged during a time period when scientific-management principles offered the hope that humans could eliminate perceived inefficiencies and increase biological productivity in natural systems. Decades later, modern criteria of instream structures trace many of their details of design to experimental devices employed in the 1920s and 1930s. However, problems with the use of many styles were noted soon after they were first deployed, and many of these troubles persist today. Dams can be undermined and outflanked by flows. Deflectors disrupt the bed and hamper the development of food organisms. Finally, cover structures suffer from siltation problems and long-term decay, which renders the devices useless. The best possible long-term solution to improved health of riverine fisheries may be to avoid the use of static engineering structures when possible and focus on reforestation and erosion control in the watersheds. Even this recommendation dates back over 65 years to the period when the use of instream structures first began to flourish in the United States.

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Reviews in Engineering Geology

Humans as Geologic Agents

Judy Ehlen
Judy Ehlen
Department of Geology, Radford University, Radford, Virginia 24142, USA
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William C. Haneberg
William C. Haneberg
Haneberg Geoscience, 10208 39th Avenue SW, Seattle, Washington 98146, USA
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Robert A. Larson
Robert A. Larson
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Alhambra, California 91803, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
16
ISBN electronic:
9780813758169
Publication date:
January 01, 2005

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