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Open AccessArticle

Potential Impact of a Large-Scale Cascade Reservoir on the Spawning Conditions of Critical Species in the Yangtze River, China

1
College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2
Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, 2628 Delft, CN, The Netherlands
3
Research Center for Climate Change of Ministry of Water Resources, Nanjing 210029, China
4
Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatoon, SK S7N 3H5, Canada
5
Department of Water Science and Engineering, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, 2611 Delft, AX, The Netherlands
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(10), 2027; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102027
Received: 18 August 2019 / Revised: 24 September 2019 / Accepted: 26 September 2019 / Published: 28 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Dam building and reservoir operations alter the downstream hydrological regime, and as a result, affect the health of the river aquatic ecosystem, particularly for large-scale cascade reservoirs. This study investigated the impact of the Gezhouba Reservoir (GR) and the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) on the spawning conditions of two critical taxa, i.e., the endemic four major carps and the endangered Chinese sturgeon in the Yangtze River. We analyzed the flow, sediment, and thermal regime in these two taxa spawning seasons and compared their features between the predam and postdam periods. Our results revealed that the GR and the TGR had altered the frequency distributions of flow, sediment, and water temperature to different degrees, with the impact by the GR on the carps and Chinese sturgeon ranked as water temperature > flow, sediment > water temperature > flow, and the effect of the TGR on these two taxa were ordered as flow > water temperature, sediment > flow > water temperature. For the GR, the satisfying degree of the suitable flow and water temperature of the carps increased, whilst the suitable flow, sediment, and water temperature for the Chinese sturgeon decreased. These changes in TGR showed a significant ascending (descending) trend in the suitable flow (water temperature) for the carps, and a clear decreasing trend in the flow, sediment, and temperature for Chinese sturgeon. Both the TGR and the GR had negative impacts on the spawning of these two taxa in terms of the rising/falling flow characteristics. View Full-Text
Keywords: Three Gorges Reservoir; Gezhouba Reservoir; flow; sediment; water temperature; Chinese sturgeon; four major carps Three Gorges Reservoir; Gezhouba Reservoir; flow; sediment; water temperature; Chinese sturgeon; four major carps
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Yu, M.; Yang, D.; Liu, X.; Li, Q.; Wang, G. Potential Impact of a Large-Scale Cascade Reservoir on the Spawning Conditions of Critical Species in the Yangtze River, China. Water 2019, 11, 2027.

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