EurekAlert, ScienceDaily publish UMaine release on Roy’s dam research

Eurekalert and ScienceDaily published a University of Maine news release about research led by Sam Roy, a postdoctoral researcher at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, on decisions about whether to build, remove or modify dams, and how, where and when it could be possible to strike a more efficient balance between trade-offs affecting these decisions. In the United States, a growing movement is pushing to restore rivers by removing dams that are obsolete, pose safety risks or have negative impacts on ecosystems, the release states. But trade-offs and conflicting stakeholder preferences can complicate the decision-making process — for example, conservation groups and resource agencies wanting to remove dams to restore a fish population conflicting with other stakeholders who prioritize services provided by the dam, like water supply and hydroelectricity, according to the release. “This is exactly the kind of problem where you need an interdisciplinary team with the right mix of expertise to help quantify trade-offs and identify promising solutions from multiple perspectives,” said Roy. The researchers created a database to serve as a model system for identifying efficient outcomes of decision-making related to dams that account for various trade-offs, and discerned potential dam decisions that maximize ecological and economic benefits. Other researchers on the team are from University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island School of Design, and the team collaborated with diverse stakeholders, according to the release. The resulting journal article, “A multiscale approach to balance trade-offs among dam infrastructure, river restoration, and cost,” was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.