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Open AccessArticle

Classification and Prediction of Natural Streamflow Regimes in Arid Regions of the USA

1
Department of Watershed Sciences, National Aquatic Monitoring Center, and Ecology Center, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5210, USA
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5210, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Present address: United States Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District Office, 3050 NE 3rd St, Prineville, OR 97754 USA
Academic Editors: Stephanie Kampf and Ken Fritz
Water 2021, 13(3), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030380
Received: 10 December 2020 / Revised: 28 January 2021 / Accepted: 28 January 2021 / Published: 1 February 2021
Understanding how natural variation in flow regimes influences stream ecosystem structure and function is critical to the development of effective stream management policies. Spatial variation in flow regimes among streams is reasonably well understood for streams in mesic regions, but a more robust characterization of flow regimes in arid regions is needed, especially to support biological monitoring and assessment programs. In this paper, we used long-term (41 years) records of mean daily streamflow from 287 stream reaches in the arid and semi-arid western USA to develop and compare several alternative flow-regime classifications. We also evaluated how accurately we could predict the flow-regime classes of ungauged reaches. Over the 41-year record examined (water years 1972–2013), the gauged reaches varied continuously from always having flow > zero to seldom having flow. We predicted ephemeral and perennial reaches with less error than reaches with an intermediate number of zero-flow days or years. We illustrate application of our approach by predicting the flow-regime classes at ungauged reaches in Arizona, USA. Maps based on these predictions were generally consistent with qualitative expectations of how flow regimes vary spatially across Arizona. These results represent a promising step toward more effective assessment and management of streams in arid regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: flow regimes; arid regions; classification; predictive models; nonperennial; ephemeral; perennial flow regimes; arid regions; classification; predictive models; nonperennial; ephemeral; perennial
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MDPI and ACS Style

Merritt, A.M.; Lane, B.; Hawkins, C.P. Classification and Prediction of Natural Streamflow Regimes in Arid Regions of the USA. Water 2021, 13, 380. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030380

AMA Style

Merritt AM, Lane B, Hawkins CP. Classification and Prediction of Natural Streamflow Regimes in Arid Regions of the USA. Water. 2021; 13(3):380. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030380

Chicago/Turabian Style

Merritt, Angela M.; Lane, Belize; Hawkins, Charles P. 2021. "Classification and Prediction of Natural Streamflow Regimes in Arid Regions of the USA" Water 13, no. 3: 380. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13030380

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