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Not All Rivers Are Created Equal: The Importance of Spring-Fed Rivers under a Changing Climate

1
Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
2
Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
3
Department of Human Ecology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
4
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Bay Delta Office, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Futoshi Nakamura, Junjiro Negishi and Nobuo Ishiyama
Water 2021, 13(12), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121652
Received: 30 April 2021 / Revised: 5 June 2021 / Accepted: 7 June 2021 / Published: 12 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endangered Freshwater Ecosystems: Threats and Conservation Needs)
In the Western United States, volcanic spring-fed rivers are anticipated to become increasingly more important for salmonids and other native fishes, as these rivers will retain coldwater habitats as the climate warms. Despite this, little is known about the hydro-biogeochemical interactions within these ecosystems. A review of existing literature on spring-fed rivers, coupled with a decade of research on volcanic spring-fed rivers of northern California, finds that these systems are exceptionally productive and exhibit stable environmental conditions. These unique conditions stem from hydrogeologic processes typical of young volcanic terrains. Aquatic macrophytes, common to some nutrient-rich spring-fed systems, play a disproportionate role in hydrologic and geomorphic processes by facilitating ecological interactions and velocity conditions that improve juvenile salmonid growth. We find that volcanic spring-fed rivers are also resilient to climate change, due not only to their ability to dampen water temperature changes through deep groundwater flow but also because of their nutrient-driven high ecosystem productivity, which may enable coldwater species to metabolically compensate for marginal increases in water temperature. Understanding the fundamental geomorphic and ecological differences between these rare ecosystems and their numerically dominant runoff rivers is essential for developing long-term conservation strategies for coldwater species under a rapidly changing climate. View Full-Text
Keywords: spring-fed rivers; coldwater fishes; climate change; conservation spring-fed rivers; coldwater fishes; climate change; conservation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lusardi, R.A.; Nichols, A.L.; Willis, A.D.; Jeffres, C.A.; Kiers, A.H.; Van Nieuwenhuyse, E.E.; Dahlgren, R.A. Not All Rivers Are Created Equal: The Importance of Spring-Fed Rivers under a Changing Climate. Water 2021, 13, 1652. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121652

AMA Style

Lusardi RA, Nichols AL, Willis AD, Jeffres CA, Kiers AH, Van Nieuwenhuyse EE, Dahlgren RA. Not All Rivers Are Created Equal: The Importance of Spring-Fed Rivers under a Changing Climate. Water. 2021; 13(12):1652. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121652

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lusardi, Robert A., Andrew L. Nichols, Ann D. Willis, Carson A. Jeffres, A. H. Kiers, Erwin E. Van Nieuwenhuyse, and Randy A. Dahlgren 2021. "Not All Rivers Are Created Equal: The Importance of Spring-Fed Rivers under a Changing Climate" Water 13, no. 12: 1652. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121652

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