How do dams affect the environment?



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    According to this Environment 911 article, there are five environmental aspects affected by dams.

    1. General Erosion: Silt is unable to freely flow through the course of the body of water, so it must deposit right at the bottom of the dam impoundment. When water flows out from the dam, it carries a high amount of sediment to deposit. This increased amount makes coastline erosion happen more rapidly. The erosion and sediment deposits are not balanced as if the water flowed naturally.

    2. Riverine Ecosystems: Plants and animals are native to certain areas of rivers. Changing the water flow cycles new and potentially invasive species to preexisting ecosystems, while it can also reduce or eliminate native species in the process.

    3. Water Temperature: Water has natural thermodynamics, but this temperature can change when the water flows out from a reservoir. Small species like plankton are very sensitive to thermal changes, so the temperature changes by the dam force these aquatic organisms to adapt or die.

    4. Marine Life/Ecosystems: Marine life and their homes can be impacted. Because the flow of water is altered, the necessary silt nutrients are not carried to areas where marine life need them. When the smallest animal is affected, the whole food chain suffers. Areas where these animals live, like deltas or wetlands are being greatly eroded away.

    5. Social Causes: Over the years, the building of dams has forced millions of people to relocate. Additionally, health risks such as malaria or waterborne diseases can and have occurred in areas where water has difficulty draining into the land.

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