Instream Flow Regimes for Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Related Environmental Resources.


D L. Tennant

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flow regimes, habitat, instream flow, recreation, streams, survey, survival

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A quick, easy methodology is described for determining flows to protect the aquatic resources in both warmwater and coldwater streams based on their average flow. Biologists do their analysis with aid of hydrological data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Detailed field studies were conducted on 11 streams in 3 states between 1964 and 1974, testing the 'Montana Method.' This work involved physical, chemical, and biological analyses of 38 different flows at 58 cross-sections on 196 stream miles, affecting both coldwater and warmwater fisheries. The studies, all planned, conducted, and analyzed with the help of state fisheries biologists, reveal that the condition of the aquatic habitat is remarkably similar on most of the streams carrying the same portion of the average flow. Similar analyses of hundreds of additional flow regimes near USGS gages in 21 different states during the past 17 years substantiated this correlation on a wide variety of streams. Ten percent of the average flow is a minimum instantaneous flow recommended to sustain short-term survival habitat for most aquatic life forms. Thirty percent is recommended as a base flow to sustain good survival conditions for most aquatic life forms and general recreation. Sixty percent provides excellent to outstanding habitat for most aquatic life forms during their primary periods of growth and for the majority of recreational uses.







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