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Can Dam Management Offset Impacts of Climatic Varibility on Aquatic Habitat?

Author(s): Rohan Benjankar, Daniele Tonina, Mohammad M. Sohrabi, James A. Mckean, Quiwen Chen, Dmitri Vidergar

Linked Author(s): Rohan Benjankar

Keywords: aquatic habitat, regulated flows, unregulated flows, hydrodynamic modeling, climatic variability

Abstract: Dams have been important structures for food and energy production but affect hydrological processes, sediment transport, water temperature, and potentially play a role on habitat loss. In this study, we focus on the impacts of dam operation on fish habitat and analyze if flow regulation can offset impacts of climatic variability on aquatic habitat based on 2D hydrodynamic flow and fish habitat model. We use the South Fork Boise River (SFBR), Idaho, as a study site, which is impacted by Anderson Ranch Dam operation. Our results show that regulated flows increase habitat and maintain good habitat year around compared to the unregulated flows. Summer months are a critical period for fish habitat for unregulated cases in all climatic conditions. Summer temperatures are comparatively higher than those preferred by Bull trout. This study suggests that dam management has the potential to offset negative impacts on fish habitat from future climate change effects


Year: 2017

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