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Icon for: Adam Bee


University of Notre Dame
Finalist Community Choice Winner


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The Effect of Damming on Fishery Production on the Kafue River, Zambia

This paper measures the impact of hydroelectric dams on small-scale fisheries located on the Kafue Flats, a large floodplain in Zambia. Annual flooding is hypothesized to drive much of the ecological dynamics of the region, including small-scale fishery output on the Kafue River. Due to the country’s open-access laws, these fisheries have long served as an “employer of last resort” for Zambia’s poorest citizens. Dam operation has severely reduced seasonal flooding, however, and has added a second, smaller flood ahead of the wet season, which further disrupts ecological timing. The study measures the extent to which manipulation of the natural flood regime has reduced fishery output and increased hydroelectric output.