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Environmental Management

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 275–288 | Cite as

Analysis of potential impacts to resident fish from Columbia River System Operation alternatives

  • David R. Geist
  • Lance W. Vail
  • Daniel J. Epstein
Environmental Auditing

Abstract

The US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bonneville Power Administration initiated the Columbia River System Operation Review (SOR) in 1990. The SOR will assist agencies in comparing the benefits and risks to Columbia River uses and natural resources from alternative strategies for using Columbia River water. Focusing on 14 federal dams within the basin, the agencies are attempting to improve on the efficient and coordinated use of the Columbia River system. An initial screening of all potential strategies of reservoir operation was necessary to reduce the number of possibilities to a limited set for detailed analysis. To that end, the Resident Fish Work Group of the SOR developed spreadsheet models capable of assessing the impacts of different management strategies on resident fish at six storage reservoirs. The models include biological, physical, and hydrological relationships important to resident fish specific to each reservoir. Alternatives that kept the reservoirs near full pool and held stable during the growing season resulted in positive benefits to resident fish at all locations modeled. Conversely, alternatives designed to improve anadromous fish survival with increased instream flow generally had a negative impact on the resident fish in the reservoirs modeled. The models developed for resident fish in the screening analysis phase of the SOR were useful in assessing the relative impact to resident fish from a large number of alternatives. The screening analysis demonstrated that future analytical efforts must consider trade-offs among river uses/resource groups, among reservoirs throughout the basin, and among resident fish species within a reservoir.

Key words

Resident fish Hydropower Analysis Reservoirs Models 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Geist
    • 1
  • Lance W. Vail
    • 2
  • Daniel J. Epstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Technology DivisionPacific Northwest LaboratoryWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Technology DivisionPacific Northwest LaboratoryWashingtonUSA

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