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Developing fish community based ecohydrological indicators for water resources management in Taiwan

Abstract

With concerns about the maintenance of both aquatic communities and flow conditions, a number of hydrologic indicators have been developed. These indicators are generally based on the development of hydrologic statistics for flows that are important to the maintenance of aquatic ecosystems. Although the hydrologic basis for indicators is well defined by common techniques in stochastic hydrology, the basis for ecological integration is still being developed. A critical evaluation of hydrologic indicators intended to protect aquatic ecosystems finds that proposed indicators are based more on standard hydrologic statistics and measures of hydrologic alteration than the habitat needs and ecological requirements of local or desired aquatic communities. We argue that hydrologic indicators are not ecohydrological indicators unless direct connections between flow events and aquatic community habitat and ecological needs are the basis of the indicator development and selection. In this article, we identify ecohydrological indicators that are based on habitat and ecological needs of fish communities. The indicator identification process is initiated with the analysis of community needs using an autecology matrix. Hydrologic statistics are then selected that are appropriate to the target fish community. The resulting ecohydrological indicators provide a direct connection to fish community flow requirements and the physical habitat conditions and associated ecology and life history needs of fish species.

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Acknowledgments

The research supporting this article was supported, in part, by the National Science Council under Contract No. NSC 96-2221-E-006-264-MY3 and the Taiwan Water Resources Agency. The authors acknowledge the assistance of Fi-John Chang, J. Wayland Eheart, Cathy Marcinkevage, Ximing Cai, and Eric Tsao in the various aspects of this work.

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Correspondence to Jian-Ping Suen.

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Handling editor: J. A. Cambray

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Suen, JP., Herricks, E.E. Developing fish community based ecohydrological indicators for water resources management in Taiwan. Hydrobiologia 625, 223–234 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-009-9710-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-009-9710-3

Keywords

  • Environmental flow
  • Fish communities
  • Fish autecology matrix
  • Natural flow management
  • Habitat