Environmental Management

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 718–731 | Cite as

Modeling Temperature Regime and Physical Habitat Impacts from Restored Streamflow

  • Russell T. Bair
  • Benjamin W. TobinEmail author
  • Brian D. Healy
  • Claire E. Spangenberg
  • Hampton K. Childres
  • Edward R. Schenk


Water infrastructure updates at Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) provide an opportunity to restore natural flow to Bright Angel Creek, adding an additional ~20% to baseflow. This creek provides habitat for endangered humpback chub (Gila cypha) and invasive brown trout (Salmo trutta). We assess how increased flow may alter habitat and how that change may impact native and nonnative species using physical habitat modeling and statistical analysis of stream temperature data. We used System for Environmental Flow Analysis to calculate the change in habitat area for both species in the lower 2.1 km of the creek before and after the increased flow. Results indicate a slight increase in available habitat for juveniles of both species and a slight decrease for spawning brown trout. We used regression modeling to relate daily average air temperature to stream temperature and periods of increased discharge during water system maintenance were used to model the temperatures during likely future conditions. Both high and low stream temperature were dampened due to the added water resulting in fewer days with suitable spawning temperature and more days with suitable growth temperature for humpback chub. Fewer suitable days for growth upstream but more suitable days downstream, were predicted for brown trout. Compared to other streams that sustain populations of humpback chub, flow conditions for Bright Angel Creek provide fewer days throughout the year with suitable temperatures, particularly during the winter months. Juvenile humpback chub rearing may improve through the restoration of flow however the presence of predatory brown trout complicates the net beneficial impact.


Grand Canyon National Park Stream restoration Physical habitat modeling Endangered species 



We thank Geoscientists-in-the-Parks, Environmental Stewards, the Grand Canyon Association, Bureau of Reclamation, and Grand Canyon National Park for their finanicial support of this project. We thank Robyn Henderek, Allison Roush, Krista Keski-Hynnila, Natalie Jones, Saj Zappitello, Tori Williams, Michele Gandee, Cynthia Valle, and Carolyn Box for assistance in the collection of hydrologic data. We would also like to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for their comments that helped improve this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science and Resource ManagementGrand Canyon National ParkTusayanUSA
  2. 2.Kentucky Geological SurveyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Museum of Northern Arizona Spring Stewardship instituteFlagstaffUSA

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