Village of the Dammed: The Biophysical and Socioeconomic Impacts of Small Dams and their Removal - A Case Study of Eden Mills, Ontario

Giddings, James
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University of Guelph

In 2001 the World Commission of Dams concluded that the economic, social and environmental cost of dams has been unacceptably high. As a result, dam removal is emerging as a promising option in addressing these concerns. However, dam removal is a contentious issue sharply divided between biophysical and socioeconomic interests. The purpose of this thesis is to conduct an explanatory case study of Eden Mills, Ontario to investigate the process of dam removal consideration. It was determined that i) safety ii) economics iii) social value and iv) environmental impact were critical variables influencing the decision-making process. Following site analysis, key-informant interviews and a design vignette survey it was determined that Eden Mills pursue dam removal as the social value of the millpond no longer justified the sustained economic and biophysical costs associated with the dam. This process theory can be applied to other dam removal scenarios to facilitate the decision making process.

Milldam, millpond, weir, dam removal, river restoration, participatory process