This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Environmental Assessment of Hydroelectric Development in the Upper Ohio River Basin

Example of cumulative impacts of dissolved oxygen caused by hydroelectric development, reduced spillages, and reduced aeration at dams.

What are the cumulative environmental impacts associated with developing hydropower projects at 19 existing dams in the upper Ohio River basin?

An environmental impact statement was prepared that analyzed both the site-specific and cumulative impacts of hydropower projects that would occur to critical environmental resources along a 500-mile reach of the upper Ohio River basin. Alternatives included a range of power production and environmental protection measures.

Dissolved oxygen concentrations were modeled along the entire reach of the river as a basis for evaluating impacts to fisheries and related recreational resources. A trade-off analysis found that, with mitigation, 78% of the proposed power could be generated with only minor environmental impacts occurring.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 1988. Hydroelectric development in the Ohio River Basin. FERC/EIS-0051. Office of Hydropower Licensing, Washington, D.C.

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.