Reservoir management to balance ecosystem and human needs: Incorporating the paradigm of the ecological flow regime

Jian Ping Suen, J. Wayland Eheart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The history of environmental flow analysis shows a shift from an emphasis on a flat line minimum flow requirement to the development of a holistic, regime-based, approach to flow management. The ecological flow regime determines environmental flow by embracing the multitude of species within an ecosystem rather than emphasizing a single species. Moreover, this paradigm recognizes that flow magnitude, duration, frequency, timing, and predictability must be incorporated into any flow management strategy. In this study, the ecological flow regime paradigm is used to establish such comprehensive and complex management targets for operating a reservoir to satisfy a downstream aquatic ecosystem. The new paradigm incorporates the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, which holds that ecosystems are healthier under disturbances that are neither too small nor too large. The nondominated sorting genetic algorithm is used to find the Pareto set of operating rules that provides decision makers with the optimal trade-off between human needs and ecological flow regime maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberW03417
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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