Cooperative Water Program
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Recently Added Products in Ecosystem Health
Online Screening Tool for New Water Withdrawals in Michigan –The State of Michigan ratified the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact on July 9, 2008, and under the Compact, agreed to develop implementation legislation to prevent adverse resource impacts of water withdrawals on the ecosystems and watersheds within the Basin. Through cooperative science projects, USGS, in cooperation with the State of Michigan and Michigan State University, provides science to support to the state in the development of an innovative water-withdrawal assessment process and on-line screening tool for new or increased water withdrawals (On-line screening tool). This process combines ungaged-flow estimation, a statewide ecological flow classification of streams, estimation of streamflow depletion by wells, and ecological-response curves describing the potential impact of water withdrawals on characteristic fish populations within a legislative and management framework.
Environmental Flow Studies in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia –USGS, in cooperation with the Central Shenandoah Valley Planning District Commission, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, and Virginia Commonwealth University, examined the instream flow needs of aquatic organisms of the South Fork and North Fork Rivers. Consistent model output and a range of scenarios are presented to Valley planners and water-resource managers regarding current and future water resources in the basin, the availability of water for fish habitat, recreation, and the potential effects of withdrawals and conservation measures on fish populations. For example, a key finding from the recent South Fork study suggests that for normal or wet years, increased water withdrawals are not likely to correspond with extensive habitat loss for game fish or nongame fish. During drought years, however, a 20- to 50-percent increase in water withdrawals may result in below normal habitat availability for game fish throughout the river and nongame fish in the upper and middle sections of the river. These simulations of rare historic drought conditions, such as those observed in the Valley in 2002 serve as a baseline for development of ecological flow thresholds for drought planning. (Studies available at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2012/5081 and http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2006/5025/.)
Low Flow Management in northeast Kaua'I, Hawai'i –USGS, in cooperation with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, assessed the availability and distribution of natural low flow in Anahola Stream in northeast Kaua'i, Hawai'i, which supports agricultural, domestic, and cultural uses within its drainage basin. Biological surveys were conducted as part of the study to determine the distribution of native and nonnative aquatic stream fauna. The report summarizes scenarios that describe (1) surface-water availability under regulated conditions of Anahola Stream if the upper and lower intakes are restored in the future; and (2) amount of flow available for agricultural use at the upper intake under a variety of potential instream-flow standards that may be established by the State of Hawaiʻi for the protection of instream uses. (Full report)
Macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity in Pennsylvania streams –USGS has worked with the Chester County Water Resources Agency in Chester County, Pennsylvania for more than 40 years to assess water quality using benthic-macroinvertebrates and water chemistry as indicators. A benthic macroinvertebrate Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) was developed based on the historical data collected under base-flow conditions (every Fall) during the long-term program. A USGS report summarizes conditions over the last decade (1998-2009). . Major factors that were found to affect macroinvertebrate scores are nutrient concentrations, habitat conditions, and percent of wooded and urban land use. Chester County encompasses 760 square miles in southeastern Pennsylvania and has a rapidly expanding population. Land-use change has occurred in response to this continual growth, as open space, agricultural lands, and wooded lands have been converted to residential and commercial lands. This study is integrated with other activities used to measure and describe water resources in the County, providing the County with information it needs for sound water-resources management.
Development of Invertebrate Indexes of Stream Quality for the Islands of Maui and Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi –USGS, in cooperation with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health, developed an invertebrate community index (ICI) for the Islands of Maui and O'ahu that could be used as an indicator of stream quality. The macroinvertebrate community data were used to identify metrics that could best differentiate among sites according to disturbance gradients such as embeddedness, percent fines (silt and sand areal coverage), or percent agricultural land in the contributing basin area. Environmental assessments were conducted using land-use/land-cover data and reach-level physical habitat data. This ICI is the beginning of a statewide ICI that is intended to help identify broad problem areas so that the Hawaii State Department of Health (HIDOH) can prioritize their efforts on a statewide scale. Once these problem areas are identified, the island-wide ICIs can be used to more accurately assess the quality of individual stream reaches so that the HIDOH can prioritize their efforts on the most impaired streams. (Full report)
Peak-Flow and Stream Ecology Management of the Cedar River, Washington –USGS, in cooperation with Seattle Public Utilities, assessed the linkages between high-flow events, geomorphic response, and effects on stream ecology in the gravel-bedded Cedar River in Washington. High flows can deleteriously affect salmon embryos incubating in the streambed gravels. Recorded accelerometer disturbances, combined with a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model, allowed the prediction of streambed disturbance at the burial depth of Chinook and sockeye salmon egg pockets for different peak discharges. Insight gained from these analyses led to the development of suggested monitoring metrics for an ongoing geomorphic monitoring program on the Cedar River. (Full report)