Aquatic habitat response to climate-driven hydrologic regimes and water operations in a montane reservoir in the Pacific Northwest, USA
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© 2017, Springer International Publishing. Freshwater systems are progressively becoming more stressed with increased human demands combined with expected trends in climate, which can threaten native biota and potentially destabilize the ecosystem. Numerical models allow water managers to evaluate the combined effects of climate and water management on the biogeochemical processes thereby identifying opportunities to optimize water management to protect ecosystem function, biodiversity and associated services. We used a 3D hydrodynamic model (ELCOM) coupled with an aquatic ecosystem dynamic model (CAEDYM) to compare two scenarios across three climatic and hydrologic conditions (extreme wet, extreme dry and average) for Deadwood Reservoir (USA). Additionally, we collected water temperature, water chemistry and biological data from the reservoir and inflowing tributaries to validate the model, as well as migration and growth data from Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) the top predator of the food web. Modeled scenarios identified that reducing minimum outflows from 1.4 to 0.06 m 3 s -1 during the fall and winter months resulted in higher reservoir elevations and cooler water temperatures the following year, which extended reservoir rearing during the summer and fall seasons. The scenarios with reduced stream flow during the fall and winter seasons indicate benefits to the reservoir ecosystem, particularly during dry years, and could reduce the effects of climatic warming.
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