Sarah Vogel: investigating human dimensions of dam relicensing

University of Maine graduate student Sarah Vogel is investigating the dam relicensing process as it relates to federally regulated hydropower dams in Maine.

Her work is part of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions’ Future of Dams project.

Vogel and other researchers will be striving to understand stakeholder actions and identify potential knowledge gaps in the process that can be used to inform decisions related to dams.

Vogel’s co-advisers represent the natural science and human dimension side of policy decision-making.

“It’s really interesting seeing how their different perspectives shape the work we’re doing,” says Vogel, a master’s student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology.

Vogel has been focusing her initial efforts into a targeted content analysis of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s online library, a repository of all documents relating to U.S. energy projects.

Vogel and her colleagues are using content analyses of FERC documents to provide insights into the factors affecting decision-making regarding fish passage and how those decisions play out among different groups.

“We want to determine what state and federal agencies and tribal entities are interested in with respect to the relicensing process. What’s important to them, what tools are at their disposal, and what gaps in their knowledge there might be that they’d like to see filled,” Vogel says.

Vogel will present “Fish Passage at Hydropower Dams on the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers: A Content Analysis of the FERC eLibrary Database” at the 2018 Maine Sustainability and Water Conference on Thursday, March 29 at the Augusta Civic Center as part of the “Rivers and Their Fish” session.

The full profile on Vogel and her research is on the Mitchell Center’s website.

Contact: David Sims, 581.3244