Dr. Winemiller Leads Scientists in Groundswell Effort to Save World’s Mightiest Rivers from Dam Impacts
By Dr. Kirk Winemiller | email@example.com
A group of 40 international scientists led by Dr. Kirk Winemiller, Regents Professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, claim that three of the earth’s mightiest rivers are being ravaged in the name of progress. The scientists published an article “Hydropower Expansion in the Amazon, Congo and Mekong – a looming threat to global biodiversity” earlier this year in the prestigious scientific journal Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/ science.aac7082).
The article summarizes the negative impacts of hydroelectric development on the incredible fish diversity and important ecosystems of tropical rivers. The article calls for innovative approaches for hydropower development and improved environmental assessments that account for the true costs and benefits of cumulative impacts. More than 450 new dams are planned for the Amazon, Congo and Mekong rivers, with some already under construction. These three rivers account for over one third of all freshwater fish species. Aside from the environmental impact and the potential loss of hundreds of aquatic species as the dams are built, the authors warn of widespread human displacement and negative economic impacts including loss of fisheries resources that provide food security for rural populations.