Author: Tanya Berry
In Oregon, we are very green toward our environment. We are constantly looking for sustainable, renewable energy such as hydropower, solar, wind and geothermal. We have been so eager to use these other energies but have not thought about the impact that this has on our ecosystem biodiversity.
In building a dam for harnessing hydropower, we take a look at the drop of the water and flow of the river to determine if it will produce enough power to make it profitable.
Dams will put stress both on aquatic and terrestrial life. This means at the least we will have a loss of species if not extinction of a species. Farms may have problems with irrigation and may have to modify crops where irrigation is no longer in existence. For instance on the Columbia River there are about 400 dams. Some of these dams have installed fish ladders or at least have found a way to transporting the fish around the dams. However, there are still damns that exist on this river that do not have a way for fish to migrate which decreasing biodiversity.
To use wind as an energy source, wind turbines are built. These turbines convert wind from kinetic energy into mechanical and then electrical energy.
There has only been a few studies done prior to us building these of what effects are bird and bat populations. Because the lack of studies out there, we cannot make a good determination if species are being negatively effect. The impact on the land is not significant because farmers can still have crops or herds around the turbines.
There needs to be more study on how this impacts our biodiversity.As a society we do need to find sustainable, renewable energy but at what costs. We need to minimize or eliminate the negative effects to biodiversity.
Biodiversity for a World Without Hunger.
Oregon Department of Energy: Renewable Energy
http://www.icem.com.au/documents/biodiversity/bioHPdevt/Volume%20III%20Biodiversity%20and%20development%20of%20hydropower-policy%20brief.pdfNorthwest Council Org Greenspace