, Volume 719, Issue 1, pp 509–525 | Cite as

Maintaining and restoring hydrologic habitat connectivity in mediterranean streams: an integrated modeling framework

  • Adina M. Merenlender
  • Mary K. MatellaEmail author


Hydrologic alterations designed to provide a stable water supply and to prevent flooding are commonly used in mediterranean-climate river (med-rivers) basins, and these alterations have led to habitat loss and significant declines in aquatic biodiversity. Often the health of freshwater ecosystems depends on maintaining and recovering hydrologic habitat connectivity, which includes structural components related to the physical landscape, functionality of flow dynamics, and an understanding of species habitat requirements for movement, reproduction, and survival. To advance our understanding of hydrologic habitat connectivity and benefits of habitat restoration alternatives we provide: (1) a review of recent perspectives on hydrologic connectivity, including quantitative methods; and (2) a modeling framework to quantify the effects of restoration on hydrologic habitat connectivity. We then illustrate this approach through a case study on lateral hydrologic habitat connectivity that results from channel restoration scenarios using scenarios with different historic and climate-change flows to restore fish floodplain habitat in a med-river, the San Joaquin River, California. Case study results show that in addition to the channel alterations, higher flows are required to recover significant flooded habitat area, especially given reductions in flows expected under climate change. These types of studies will help the planning for restoration of hydrologic habitat connectivity in med-rivers, a critical step for mediterranean species recovery.


River restoration Ecosystem functions model GIS Sacramento splittail Chinook salmon 



Thank you to Núria Bonada and Vince Resh for constructive comments throughout and David Hines for helping with references. We appreciate Kerry Heise and Ted Grantham for their feedback on this manuscript and feedback from anonymous reviewers.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and ManagementUC BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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