University of California

Decision support tool seeks to aid stream-flow recovery and enhance water security


Adina M. Merenlender
Matthew J. Deitch
Shane Feirer

Authors Affiliations

A.M. Merenlender is Cooperative Extension Specialist, Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program, Department of Environmental Science. Policy and Management (ESPM), UC Berkeley; M.J. Deitch is Senior Environmental Scientist, Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration, Oakland (formerly Postdoctoral Fellow, ESPM, UC Berkeley); S. Feirer is GIS analyst, UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. This research was funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (STAR grant G4K10732), and Sonoma County Water Agency. Our colleagues at UC Berkeley have been instrumental in developing some of these ideas: Juliet Christian-Smith. Ted Grantham. G. Matt Kondolf, Ruth Langridge, David Newburn and Vince Resh. We also thank the Salmon Coalition for their interest in applying our research.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 62(4):148-155. DOI:10.3733/ca.v062n04p148. October 2008.

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In many parts of coastal California, agricultural water needs during the summer are met by tapping riparian and groundwater resources, which has led to documented decreases in stream flow during the dry season. This has consequences for salmon, including sudden drying of habitat, higher water temperatures and changes in the invertebrate prey base. We developed a new, spatially explicit analytical tool to quantify and map human and environmental needs, model daily stream-flow rates, and estimate regulatory flow requirements and cumulative impacts of reservoirs. This tool is part of a decision support system that can be integrated in a Geographic Information System (GIS) with other restoration considerations. This research provides a basis for placing additional reservoir storage where projects are not likely to affect adult salmon passage, while reducing water demand from surface and subsurface flows during spring and summer, ultimately improving both habitat for salmonids and water supply for growers.


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Merenlender A, Deitch M, Feirer S. 2008. Decision support tool seeks to aid stream-flow recovery and enhance water security. Hilgardia 62(4):148-155. DOI:10.3733/ca.v062n04p148
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