Biodiversity and Invasive Species

Biodiversity is the variety of life forms (animals, plants and micro-organisms), their genes, and the ecosystems of which they are a part. There is considerable knowledge and experience globally of the mitigation measures that can be employed to avoid, minimise, mitigate and compensate biodiversity-related impacts from hydropower developments.

At the preparation stage for a hydropower project, good practice includes the evaluation of biodiversity impacts in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), systematically identifying and evaluating biodiversity values and potential impacts and risks associated with the project. During the implementation and operation stages, biodiversity-related plans developed based on the ESIA assessment work are put into action.

By adhering to good practice, project owners and developers can help to ensure that there are healthy, functional and viable aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the project affected area which are sustainable over the long-term, that biodiversity impacts arising from project activities and from the operating hydropower facility are managed responsibly and that commitments to implement biodiversity and invasive species measures are fulfilled.

Understanding good practice

International industry good practice in biodiversity and invasive species for hydropower projects is defined in the Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP).

The guidelines were published by the International Hydropower Association and are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives of civil society, industry, governments and financial institutions.

Assessing project performance

Two assessment tools are available to measure hydropower project performance:

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP)  is used by independent accredited assessors to consider whether a project has achieved good and best practice at different stages of its life cycle. Biodiversity and Invasive Species is addressed in P-19 for the preparation stage, I-15 for the implementation stage and O-15 for the operation stage.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool is used by independent accredited assessors to help project teams address any gaps against good practice in environmental, social and governance topics across 12 assessment sections. Biodiversity and Invasive Species is addressed in Section 6.

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