The diversion of water to hydropower stations, often combined with problematic or non-existing fish passes, can have considerable impacts on important fish populations, such as salmon.
This is the case at Ardnacrusha in Co Clare. When its turbines started turning in the 1930s, this hydropower station on the Shannon was the crown jewel in our electricity revolution, providing 80% of the young nation’s power.
Almost a century on, these ongoing issues have had a dramatic impact on the salmon population, as well as communities reliant on the species survival for fishing and tourism.
Today, the station can supply just 2% of the country’s power needs, yet, according to critics, is still causing just as severe an impact on migrating salmon, as well as the critically endangered European eel and sea lamprey.
Inland Fisheries Ireland estimates that one in five eels that pass through the dam are killed by turbines as the protected species tries to get from the Atlantic ocean to the Sargasso Sea.
HELP US INVESTIGATE
We want to examine the impact that Ireland’s network of hydropower stations and dams are having on the Atlantic salmon, European eel and sea lamprey, and what authorities are doing - if anything - to limit the impacts.
We will also investigate the impact of the hydropower network on local communities such as landowners, eel fishers and angling clubs.
If you want to make a contribution to help this investigation happen, click the 'Fund This Proposal' button. Noteworthy investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.