Project laying groundwork to develop flow-ecology assessment tools

Posted July 28, 2017

SCCWRP and its partners have begun laying the groundwork to develop a suite of assessment tools that illuminate how the ecological health of Southern California streams is impacted by alterations to hydrologic flow patterns.

The two-year project, which kicked off in June, will focus on improving understanding of the relationships between hydrologic flows and ecological condition, especially in light of shifting rainfall and temperature patterns triggered by climate change.

Researchers will explore using various modeling approaches and other assessment tools to help explain these flow-ecology relationships, and investigate the feasibility of developing flow-ecology bioindicators for fish, amphibians and riparian birds. SCCWRP and its partners previously developed a flow-ecology assessment tool for Southern California streams based on the condition of bottom-dwelling macroinvertebrate communities.

A key priority for researchers when building this scientific foundation for the flow-ecology bioindicator development work is aligning it with an environmental flows statewide assessment framework being developed by a team of technical experts from across California, including SCCWRP.

Researchers began the project with a literature review that is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. As the project moves forward, researchers hope to build a foundation for developing a prioritization scheme that could help watershed managers select biological endpoints and associated assessment approaches based on their needs, priorities and available data.

More news related to: Climate Change, Ecohydrology