Pulsed Flow Wave Attenuation on a Regulated Montane River

This study investigated the effects of hydrograph shape on attenuation of regulated pulsed flow events below a hydropower dam by categorizing and modelling the downstream movement of representative pulses on the upper Tuolumne River in the Sierra Nevadas of California, USA. We extracted...

StreamDev

Forecasts of surface water availability are improved by "ground truth" measurements by stream gaging stations. This project aims to improve stream discharge measurements for regions that lack the infrastructure of access to establish a formal gaging station. Water surface elevation (stage) information can be extracted from images of the stream's banks. The objectives of this project seek to establish open-source methods for the automated partitioning of water surface levels from stream images.

CERC-WET: Sustainable Hydropower Operations

River systems worldwide have been modified through water management practices resulting in impaired flow regimes critical to supporting hydrogeomorphic processes and ecological functionality of riverscapes. In particular, hydropower operations affect downstream ecosystems through changes in flow patterns, temperature, and sediment transport. A functional flows paradigm – emphasizing process-based hydrograph components – has emerged as a guide for developing environmental flow frameworks in heavily managed river systems.

Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management Accepts Two Vicelab Publications

The American Society of Civil Engineers has accepted two Vicelab papers for publication in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. The first is a technical paper, Climate-adaptive Water Year Typing for Instream Flow Requirements in California's Sierra Nevada, authored by David E. Rheinheimer , Sarah Null , and Joshua Viers . The second is a case study, ​Simulation Modeling to Secure Environmental Flows in a Diversion Modified Flow Regime, authored by Jenny Ta , Rodd Kelsey , Jeanette Howard , Jay Lund , Samuel Sandoval-Solis and Joshua Viers . The papers are currently in the...

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Securing Environmental Water: Mill Creek flows

Stream flow is critical to sustaining riverine plants and animals, many of which have adapted to historic flow patterns. These species include the foothill yellow-legged frog, whose reproduction is timed with the annual spring snowmelt, and Pacific salmon that migrate up the Sacramento and spawn in the creek. Mill Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River, hosts one of the highest elevation salmon-spawning habitats in California and is one of the few streams that still support threatened spring-run Chinook salmon.

Assessing the Value of Improved Hydrologic Forecasting for Hydropower in the Sierra Nevada at Multiple Spatial Scales

Increased accuracy of snowpack measurements can potentially greatly improve planning for rest-of-year water allocations, particularly when coupled with improvements in hydrologic modeling skill. In California, the degree to which investments in improved hydrologic information systems, such as...

Functional Flows in Modified Riverscapes: Hydrographs, Habitats and Opportunities

Building on previous environmental flow discussions and a growing recognition that geomorphic and ecological processes are inherent to river functionality and biodiversity, we propose a functional flows approach to managing rivers in contemporary modified riverscapes. The approach focuses on...

Preliminary Optimization for Spring-Run Chinook Salmon Environmental Flows in Lassen Foothill Watersheds

Stream flow controls physical and ecological processes in rivers that support freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity vital for services that humans depend on. This master variable has been impaired by human activities like dam operations, water diversions, and flood control infrastructure....

Systematic Screening of Dams for Environmental Flow Assessment and Implementation

Environmental flow protections are crucial to the conservation of freshwater biodiversity in dam-regulated river systems. Nevertheless, the implementation of environmental flows has lagged far behind the pace of river ecosystem alteration. The vast number of dams now in operation and the...

Incorporating Climate Change in Flow Regime Alteration Studies in Hydropower Licensing

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has yet to mandate incorporation of anticipated climate change effects on hydropower system operations when assessing environmental impacts from the renewal of hydropower licenses. One stated reason is the lack of specific project-level specificity...

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