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Water 2013, 5(3), 875-892; doi:10.3390/w5030875

The Impact of “Man-Made Hydrological Drought” on Plant Species Abundance in the Low-Flow Channel Downstream from the Matawin Dam, Quebec

Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, 3351 Boulevard des Forges, Trois-Rivières, Québec G9A 5H7, Canada
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Received: 1 May 2013 / Revised: 13 June 2013 / Accepted: 14 June 2013 / Published: 28 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)

Abstract

The interannual variability of streamflow affects the composition and species richness of vegetation in low-flow channels and alluvial plains. Although climate conditions in 2003 and 2004 were nearly identical, large differences in streamflow were observed downstream from the Matawin dam. These differences resulted in numerous days without flow (no water release) during the growing period (May to August) in 2003, leading to man-made hydrological drought. While this drought had no effect on abiotic variables (grain-size distribution and nutrient concentrations in sediments), a significant decrease in the number of terrestrial species was observed in 2004 (year without drought) relative to 2003 (drought year) on three sand bars studied. This decrease is interpreted to result from prolonged submergence of the sites in 2004. Principal component analysis highlighted the effect of individual sites (first principal component) and of the interannual variability of streamflow (second component) on the number of species. The study suggests that, from a flow management standpoint, it is advisable to release enough water downstream from the dam during the growing season to prevent low-flow channel colonization by invasive terrestrial species.
Keywords: dam; inversion; hydrological drought; ecological groups; statistical analysis; Matawin River dam; inversion; hydrological drought; ecological groups; statistical analysis; Matawin River
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Assani, A.; Simard, É.; Gravel, É.; Ibrahim, G.; Campeau, S. The Impact of “Man-Made Hydrological Drought” on Plant Species Abundance in the Low-Flow Channel Downstream from the Matawin Dam, Quebec. Water 2013, 5, 875-892.

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