Researchers plan outflow modifications to measure human impact on ecosystems

Scientific data (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41597-022-01566-1″ width=”800″ height=”419″/>

An overview of the 7-step approach used to map hydrological change and environmental consequences in the downstream of US continuing credit: Scientific data (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41597-022-01566-1

Altering the stream’s flow could put the ecosystems that depend on it at risk, but researchers lack data on how human infrastructure affects the flow of the stream in the United States. To determine societal impacts on ecosystems.

Up to 80% of rivers and streams in the contiguous United States have been modified to some extent by human structures. Understanding the relationship between these modifications and environmental responses is key to enacting management policies that balance societal and environmental water needs.

Using measurements from more than 7,000 stream gauges, the researchers developed a predictive model of hydrological change and its consequences for the biodiversity of native fish. They applied it to more than 2.6 million streams, creating a comprehensive data set.

“This study provides data on flow changes not only in major rivers but essentially over every part of important waterways that we know exist,” said co-author Ryan Morrison, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at California State University.

The researchers say the dataset could fill in the regional data gaps needed to set environmental flow standards and provide a tool for prioritizing downstream protection or restoration.

“Ecological flows are essential to protect river ecosystems; however, identifying these flows is difficult and subject to limited data,” said Ryan McManamay, lead author and associate professor of environmental sciences at Baylor University. “Our assessment helps fill in significant information gaps and provides some of that much-needed information to conserve the river.”

The study published in Scientific datanotes that although freshwater ecosystems account for less than 0.5% of Earth’s surface water, these systems harbor 7% of the world’s species and a third of all vertebrates.

“Even among freshwater ecosystems, rivers and streams are numerically scarce despite providing disproportionate services to society, ultimately leading to their overexploitation,” McManami wrote.

The researchers examined USGS flowmetry data and the human influences affecting those currents. Then use it machine learning Geospatial information about human changes in basins without measures to predict the effects of flow in those basins.

Based on previous search Assessing fish responses to changes in flow, and predicting fish biodiversity loss in human modification streams. They found that models of hydrological change performed well during validation, while model environmental responses were less accurate due to lack of data and complexity of factors.

The researchers see this data set as a tool for future research on river ecosystems.

“We hope that this study will be used to explore other questions related to Ecosystems in riverine environments or in combination with other large-scale spatial data sets that may overlap with these data,” Morrison said. His group has already used the dataset in studies on floodplain health.

The authors on the paper, “Mapping Hydrological Change and Environmental Consequences Downstream of the Nearby U.S.,” are McManamay, Morrison, Rob George, a former McManamay graduate student and now a GIS analyst at McBain Associates in Arcata, California, and Benjamin L. Ruddell, assistant professor in the College of Informatics, Computing, and Electronic Systems at Northern Arizona University.


Study identifies gaps in flow monitoring


more information:
Ryan A. McManamay et al, Mapping Hydrological Changes and Environmental Consequences in Stream Streams in the Contiguous United States, Scientific data (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41597-022-01566-1

the quote: Researchers Map Stream Flow Alterations to Measure Human Impact on Ecosystems (2022, September 22) Retrieved on September 22, 2022 from

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