Framework developed to assess streams’ vulnerability to changes in flow patterns

Posted April 28, 2023

SCCWRP and its partners have developed a scientific framework that enables watershed managers to systematically evaluate how changes in stream flow patterns in the coming years will adversely affect sensitive aquatic species and habitats.

The risk decision framework, unveiled during a SCCWRP-hosted training workshop in March, considers how climate change, future land-use changes and changing water management practices will affect the ecological health of streams across the San Diego region. These insights are intended to help managers make informed decisions about which streams to prioritize protecting and restoring.

The framework was developed by coupling two types of models: hydrologic models that explain how stream flow patterns will change across the San Diego region, and species distribution models that explain how sensitive species like the arroyo toad are affected by stream flow alterations.

The work builds off a similar 2019 environmental flows analysis in the Los Angeles region focusing on climate change impacts.

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