State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008OK107B
Title: An Assessment of Environmental Flows for Oklahoma
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 3
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Water Quantity, Ecology
Keywords: stream classification, hydrologic indices, modeling eco-hydrology
Principal Investigators: Turton, Don ; Fisher, William (Oklahoma State University)
Federal Funds: $ 25,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 50,000
Abstract: The Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan is currently being updated to make water demand projections for the next 50 years. Historically, the Plan has made provisions for consumptive water uses; however, there is a need to include non-consumptive uses in the current plan, including environmental flows that sustain aquatic animals and plants. River ecologists and conservationists generally agree that a regulated river needs to mimic the five components of the natural flow regime, including the magnitude, timing, frequency, duration, and rate of change and predictability of flow events, plus the sequence of these conditions. These more complex methods go beyond developing simple hydrological "rules of thumb" to more comprehensive environmental flow assessment. We propose to use the Hydroecology Integrity Assessment Process (HIP) approach developed by the U S Geological Survey to assess environmental flows in Oklahoma's perennial streams. The HIP is a modeling tool that identifies 10 non-redundant hydrologic indices that are ecologically relevant, specific to stream classes, and characterize the five components of the natural flow regime, including the magnitude, timing, frequency, duration, and rate of change and predictability of flow events, plus the sequence of these conditions. Information derived from the HIP analysis will be used to make environmental flow recommendations for incorporation into the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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