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FISHFATE: Population Dynamics Models to Assess Risks of Hydraulic Entrainment by Dredges

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Technical note

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The interagency coordination process through which environmental windows are determined for individual dredging projects is frequently handicapped by a paucity of technical knowledge pertaining to important attributes of the fishery resources of concern and potential conflicts resulting from the dredging event. Thus, in many cases, environmental windows are chosen in an unavoidably subjective manner. Few tools exist to facilitate or inject objectivity into the negotiation of reasonable, technically justified environmental windows. The subject of this Technical Note is the conceptual development of an integrated computer simulation package, called FISHFATE, that provides a capability to assess alternative environmental windows that arise from issues related to hydraulic entrainment of aquatic organisms. To be an effective tool in facilitating dredging project coordination, modeling applications must a make optimal use of existing data resources i.e., not require expensive, time-consuming collection of extensive field data sets, b be capable of making conservative estimates of parameters where quantitative data are lacking, and c be adaptable to a wide range of dredging project scenarios. Since it is unlikely that comprehensive data on individual fishery resources will be available for evaluation of even a fraction of common dredging project scenarios, population dynamics models represent one of few options to objectively examine environmental windows. Given the above criteria, however, it is imperative that confidence limits for model outputs be known. To this end, FISHFATE is intended to express population risks due to entrainment in probabilistic terms.

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  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Civil Engineering

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