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Dam removal projects accelerate, but research lags behind

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A new review reveals gaps in the science of dam removal. Although more than 1200 dams have been removed in the United States, fewer than 10 percent have been scientifically evaluated. Those studies that do exist focus more on short-term river channel responses rather than longer-term biological responses.

The findings were compiled by scientists at the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis. They illustrate the need for long-term and well-designed studies in order to anticipate the effects of dam removal.

"There is a great need for studies that look at the response of the ecosystem from many perspectives. Such work will help us in predicting the outcomes of future dam removal projects," said Dr. Ryan Bellmore, lead author of the paper in WIREs Water.

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