, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 185-194

Riparian vegetation instream flow requirements: A case study from a diverted stream in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, California, USA

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A methodology is described that allows determination of instream flow requirements for maintenance of riparian trees. Tree-ring data revealed strong relationships between tree growth and stream flow volume for riparian species at Rush Creek, an alluvial stream within an arid setting; these relationships allowed development of models that predict growth rates from hydrologic variables. The models can be used to assess instream flow requirements under the assumption that certain levels of growth are necessary to maintain the population. There is a critical need for development and use of instream flow methodologies for riparian vegetation, since present methodologies focus on needs of aquatic animals (e.g., fish) and may underestimate needs of the entire riparian ecosystem.