Improved reservoir operation to enhance fisheries - a Truckee River fisheries modeling application
What is an optimal release strategy to improve downstream fisheries and potentially prevent future listing of threatened and endangered species?
Can fisheries models be coupled with water quality models and decision support systems to improve deliveries to instream uses?
Need and Benefit
The Truckee River basin currently is home to two threatened and endangered species of fish, the Cui-ui and the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT). The loss of fish in the river is partially due to general degradation of water suitability in the downstream reaches of the river. As a result of the 1996 Water Quality Settlement Agreement (WQSA) by stakeholders in the basin, water rights currently are being purchased to augment flows in the river. Additionally, some water is already available to provide flows for the benefit of aquatic species. The intended use of these combined deliveries will be for instream habitat for the fish species. The water deliveries will not meet their specified use if they do not improve the downstream fisheries; thus, a method must be developed to ensure that the deliveries for these water rights are adequate for fulfilling the requirements of the fish species.
This proposal seeks funding for the development of fisheries modeling techniques for the river that would interactively use data from water quality models and decision support systems to evaluate reservoir release strategies for the optimal downstream improvement of fisheries. The framework that is developed would serve as a guideline for similar work in other basins.
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