Dam removal is an approach for restoring rivers. However, there are increasing concerns about the impact of removal on downstream biota. We examined the short-term responses of benthic macroinvertebrates and their avian predator (Brown Dipper, Cinclus pallasii Temminck) in reaches downstream of a check dam after it was removed from a mountain stream in central Taiwan. The density and taxonomic richness of downstream macroinvertebrates decreased immediately after dam removal. The decreases were associated with scouring or burial by sediments from the upstream impoundment. Ten weeks post-removal, downstream macroinvertebrate densities, although marginally recovering, remained lower than both pre-removal and upstream densities. Substantial changes in community structure were not significantly associated with an increase in the proportion of taxa with short life spans. However, this small-scale disturbance had no strong effect on the abundance of their very mobile, avian predator. This study and other studies of dam removal have found that downstream sedimentation following dam removal can reduce macroinvertebrate densities and that they may recover over time. Thus, timescale must be considered when interpreting the consequences of dam removal, especially when the long-term goal is stream restoration
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