The project will occur in two phases. The first phase, which began in 2012, seeks to characterize the current state of the Sélune River and its basin (including usage and user perceptions) to establish a baseline prior to dam removal (should it ultimately occur). Another goal is to quantify changes related to reservoir draining (2017–2018). During the second phase, researchers will characterize the river basin’s ecological restoration by describing the temporal and spatial changes that occur following the dams’ removal.
Project management is being handled by a research coordination team. The project’s four interrelated thematic areas are landscapes, humans, and usage; agricultural and riparian landscapes; river dynamics; and aquatic ecological communities (Fig. 1). Current and future studies will examine the river’s biological and geochemical dynamics (e.g., water flow, sediment transport, and water chemistry) and then evaluate the risks and benefits of the ecosystem’s restoration. Furthermore, researchers will explore how local residents view and use the river basin, making it possible to gauge the socioeconomic impacts of the dams’ removal and the conditions under which it would be accepted.