AbstractMany surface waters in Europe suffer from the adverse effects of multiple stresses. The Otra River, southernmost Norway, is impacted by acid deposition, hydropower development and increasingly by climate change. The river holds a unique population of land-locked salmon and anadromous salmon in the lower reaches. Both populations have been severely affected by acidification. The decrease in acid deposition since the 1980s has led to partial recovery of both populations. Climate change with higher temperatures and altered precipitation can potentially further impact fish populations. We used a linked set of process-oriented models to simulate future climate, discharge, and water chemistry at five sub-catchments in the Otra river basin. Projections to year 2100 indicate that future climate change will give a small but measureable improvement in water quality, but that additional reductions in acid deposition are needed to promote full restoration of the fish communities. These results can help guide management decisions to sustain key salmon habitats and carry out effective long-term mitigation strategies such as liming. The Otra River is typical of many rivers in Europe in that it fails to achieve the good ecological status target of the EU Water Framework Directive. The programme of measures needed in the river basin management plan necessarily must consider the multiple stressors of acid deposition, hydropower, and climate change. This is difficult, however, as the synergistic and antagonistic effects are complex and challenging to address with modelling tools currently available.
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