High flow generates significant alterations in downstream river reaches, resulting in physical condition changes in the downstream regions of the river such as water depth, flow velocity, water temperature and river bed. These alterations will lead to change in fish habitat configuration in the river. This paper proposes a model system to evaluate the high flow effects on river velocity, water depth, substrates changes, temperature distribution and consequently assess the change in spawning and juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss
) habitats in the downstream region of the Glen Canyon Dam. Firstly, based on the 2 dimensional (2D) depth-averaged CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) model and heat transfer equation applied for simulation, three indices were simulated, namely depth, flow velocity and temperature distribution. Then, the spawning and juvenile fish preference curves were obtained based on these three indices and substrates distribution. After that, the habitat model was proposed and used to simulate the high flow effects on juvenile and spawning rainbow trout habitat structure. Finally, the weighted usable area (WUA
) and overall suitability index (OSI
) of the spawning and juvenile fish species were quantitatively simulated to estimate the habitat sensitivity. The results illustrate that the high flow effect (HFE) increased the juvenile rainbow trout habitat quality but decreased the spawning rainbow trout habitat quality. The juvenile trout were mainly affected by the water depth while the spawning rainbow trout were dominated by the bed elevation.
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