Ecological effects of small hydroelectric stations
Small hydroelectric stations can make a positive contribution to local electricity needs, with a very minor long-term impact. It is vital, however, that the scale of that impact is assessed before construction begins; this often means baseline studies to assess existing fauna and identify any species of particular concern.
Hydro station, River Thames
Pisces Conservation were requested to assess plans for a small hydro station on the River Thames, intended to provide power for Windsor Castle. A series of macroinvertebrate sampling trips were undertaken to the site, to study the fauna, identify species of concern, and predict potential ecological changes arising from the construction.
Micro-turbine, southern England
We recently carried out a baseline survey for a water abstraction licence application. Our client planned to install a micro-turbine in their property, to power their home. The rare alderfly Sialis nigripes had been reported historically near the area, so macroinvertebrate samples were taken at the site. While a healthy and diverse fauna was shown, neither S. nigripes or any other species of concern was found. It was concluded that the small portion of the river's flow to be diverted through the mill race would have no negative environmental effect in the long term.
Pisces staff have considerable experience in freshwater macroinvertebrate ecology and statistical methods for analysis of survey data. Pisces' own software packages, developed specifically for working biologists, are used to analyse survey data. We regularly work with statutory bodies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency, to assure full compliance with UK and EU legislation to protect habitats and species.
Further information on our power plant-related work is available on our Power Station Effects website