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Habitat Provision Associated with Environmental Flows

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Technical Report

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ERDC Vicksburg United States

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A comprehensive analysis of environmental flows, the amount, timing and quality of flow regimes, represents a key step in ensuring adequate water availability to meet increasing human needs while minimizing adverse impacts on aquatic ecosystems. This study investigates how several modeled instream flow and water withdrawal scenarios affect habitat provision in the Middle Oconee River near Athens, Georgia. Historical discharge data are coupled with water withdrawal simulations for each withdrawal scheme to examine trade-offs between ecological and social outcomes i.e., habitat provision and water withdrawal, respectively. Hydraulic models are applied to translate hydrologic simulations into habitat suitability for the following three generic habitat types shallow-fast, deep-fast, and shallow-slow. The availability and distribution of habitats are analyzed with respect to increasing water withdrawal rates. Finally, the utility of deterministic modeling approaches based on long-term average conditions relative to stochastic modeling approaches using frequency-weighted outcomes are compared. The analytical methodology and approach set forth in this technical note TN may be easily adapted to inform environmental flow analyses at other study sites.

Subject Categories:

  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology

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