• Red Rocks with water in front of them in the desert.
  • Clouds behind Joshua Tree and bushes.
  • Desert flowers blooming in bushes in front of mountains in the desert.
  • Setting sun reflecting of clouds of orange and blue behind a joshua tree.
  • Hoover Dam intake towers with water behind the dam showing that it is not full.

2013 SCIENCE PROJECTS

Development of a Decision Support Tool for Water and Resource Management using Biotic, Abiotic, and Hydrological Assessments of Topock Marsh

Science Need(s)

Critical Management Question 1: Water Management and Climate Change
How are climate change, water management, and their interaction affecting the physical processes that support springs, aquatic and riparian habitats, species, and human cultures? What are viable management options to mitigate these effects and support ecosystem functions? How can climate change, hydrological, ecological, and/or biological models be used to better understand the potential future effects of climate change, inform adaptive management and development of beneficial management practices, and create related decision support tools?

Critical Management Question 2: Monitoring Species/Processes and Related Threats/Stressors
What species and ecological processes are sensitive to climate change and/or other large scale stressors (e.g., water management, invasive species, altered fire regime, wind erosion) and can be effectively monitored to indicate the overall effects of these stressors on ecosystems, habitats, and species, thus helping managers detect, understand, and respond to these changes? What are the best monitoring designs and protocols to detect changes to these processes and species at temporal and geographic scales suitable for providing adequate and reliable metrics?

Grantee: USGS-Fort Collins Science Center (FORT)
Principle Investigators: Joan S. Daniels, Jeanette C. Haegele, Leanne Hanson, and Chris Holmquist-Johnson
Cooperative Agreement:  $ 99,300 in matching funds and $88,979 in Federal funds provided by US Fish and Wildlife Service
Project Duration: 2013-2015
Project Goal(s)
The overall goal of the project is to provide an assemblage of biotic, abiotic, and hydrologic data needed to better understand the health and function of the marsh under current conditions; and to develop a Decision Support System that provides an evidence-based scientific approach that will allow the Refuge to compare hydrological scenarios and evaluate their effects on habitats of concern.

Brief Project Description

U.S. Geological Survey-Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) will build upon previous work by providing an assemblage of biotic, abiotic, and hydrologic data needed by FWS to better understand the health and function of Topock Marsh under various hydrologic conditions. FORT will develop a Decision Support System (DSS) utilizing a spatially-explicit GIS package of historical data, habitat indices, and analytical tools to synthesize outputs for hydrologic time periods. This approach will help FWS use the best available science to determine more effective water management strategies.

Project Location

Topock Marsh in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

Project Tasks

  1. Aquatic flora, fauna and water quality assessments (field data collection and analysis of water quality & biota data)
  2. Emergent vegetation assessment (Field data collection (aerial surveys) and data process to produce ortho-rectified imagery
  3. Hydrologic model development (Bathymetric field work & assemble data for Decision Support System)
  4. Decision Support System development (Preparation of technical reports & papers and complete emergent vegetation maps and analysis)

Project Deliverables

  1. High-resolution ortho-rectified imagery of Topock Marsh
  2. A Decision Support System available as software or web application
  3. A report detailing all results
  4. Peer-reviewed publications

Opportunities to learn more

Documents for downloading

Project Proposal