Next Article in Journal
Horizontal Circulation Patterns in a Large Shallow Lake: Taihu Lake, China
Previous Article in Journal
Adaptation Strategies of the Hydrosocial Cycles in the Mediterranean Region
Open AccessArticle

Assessing Environmental Flow Targets Using Pre-Settlement Land Cover: A SWAT Modeling Application

1
School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, 203-T ABNR Building, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2
Institute of Water Security and Science, West Virginia University, 4121 Agricultural Sciences Building, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
3
Davis College, Schools of Agriculture and Food, and Natural Resources, West Virginia University, 4121 Agricultural Sciences Building, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(6), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10060791
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 10 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Determining environmental flow requirements to sustain aquatic ecosystem health remains a challenge. The purpose of this research was to quantify the extent of current flow alterations relative to baseline hydrologic conditions of a simulated historic flow regime prior to anthropogenic flow disturbance (i.e., pre-settlement flows). Results allowed assessment of the efficacy of environmental flow targets based on pre-settlement land cover in a contemporary mixed-land-use catchment (i.e., urban, agricultural, and forested). Pre-settlement flows were simulated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Pre-settlement land cover, based on soil physical characteristics, was used to simulate pre-settlement flows with the SWAT model. Environmental flow targets were calculated for each flow element of a historic flow regime (magnitude, frequency, duration, timing, and rate of change). Urban (20% of watershed area) and agricultural development (42% of watershed area) were correlated to decreased median daily stream flow by 0.8 m3 s−1 (percent difference = −115%), increased maximum daily flow by 22 m3 s−1 (percent difference = 13%), and a 34% increase in daily flow variability. High flow frequency increased by 45–76% following development. Results highlight a need for consideration of environmental flow targets appropriate for watersheds already modified by existing land use, and point to a need for long-term, broad-scale, and persistent efforts to develop achievable environmental flow recommendations, particularly in rapidly urbanizing mixed-land-use watersheds. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental flows; ELOHA; ecohydrology; mixed-land-use hydrology; SWAT; EflowStats environmental flows; ELOHA; ecohydrology; mixed-land-use hydrology; SWAT; EflowStats
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

MDPI and ACS Style

Zeiger, S.J.; Hubbart, J.A. Assessing Environmental Flow Targets Using Pre-Settlement Land Cover: A SWAT Modeling Application. Water 2018, 10, 791.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop