Next Article in Journal
Estimation of Soil Erosion and Evaluation of Soil and Water Conservation Benefit in Terraces under Extreme Precipitation
Previous Article in Journal
Spatiotemporal Distribution of Drought Based on the Standardized Precipitation Index and Cloud Models in the Haihe Plain, China
 
 
Article

Effects on Fluvial Geomorphology and Vegetation Cover following Hydroelectric Power Plant Operation: A Case Study in the Maule River (Chile)

1
Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales, Centro EULA-Chile, Departamento de Planificación Territorial y Sistemas Urbanos, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 4089100, Chile
2
Párez y Alvarez Gestión Ambiental, Marco Polo 8939, Hualpén 4600000, Chile
3
Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Alonso de Ribera 2850, San Andrés, Concepción 4090541, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ognjen Bonacci
Water 2022, 14(11), 1673; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111673
Received: 19 April 2022 / Revised: 23 May 2022 / Accepted: 23 May 2022 / Published: 24 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Ecohydrology)
The installation of hydroelectric plants has generated multiple environmental impacts on the world’s river systems. In central Chile, the impacts of hydroelectric reservoir operation have been documented in ecological and hydrologic regime terms. This investigation assesses the changes in channel morphology, vegetation distribution, and flows in the middle section of the Maule River during the period following the start-up of a hydroelectric plant. Changes in fluvial morphology (active area) and land cover are quantified using LANDSAT images, contrasted with a vegetation sampling and flow analysis. The results show a 12% decrease in active areas of the river, indicating a loss of geomorphological diversity. Within the active channel, there was a gradual increase in plant-covered surface area, which reached 159% between 1989 and 2018, mainly due to reductions in water (−61%), active bar (−35%), and bare soil surface areas (−29%). The changes were evident ten years after plant operations began and intensified during the period known as the megadrought in central Chile (2008–2018). The flow magnitudes present a decrease for exceedance probabilities (P) below 85% in the period after 1985, with a slight increase recorded for low flows (P > 85%). In the segments with superior stabilization, invasive species such as Acacia dealbata (silver wattle) predominated, which are specialists at taking advantage of disturbances to settle and stabilize active areas, narrowing the possibilities for morphological change. View Full-Text
Keywords: dams; fluvial geomorphology; land covers; multi-temporal analysis dams; fluvial geomorphology; land covers; multi-temporal analysis
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Pacheco, F.; Rojas, O.; Hernández, E.; Caamaño, D. Effects on Fluvial Geomorphology and Vegetation Cover following Hydroelectric Power Plant Operation: A Case Study in the Maule River (Chile). Water 2022, 14, 1673. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111673

AMA Style

Pacheco F, Rojas O, Hernández E, Caamaño D. Effects on Fluvial Geomorphology and Vegetation Cover following Hydroelectric Power Plant Operation: A Case Study in the Maule River (Chile). Water. 2022; 14(11):1673. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111673

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pacheco, Fabián, Octavio Rojas, Esteban Hernández, and Diego Caamaño. 2022. "Effects on Fluvial Geomorphology and Vegetation Cover following Hydroelectric Power Plant Operation: A Case Study in the Maule River (Chile)" Water 14, no. 11: 1673. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14111673

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop