Stream temperature and deceased flow conditions are limiting factors for native trout species in Nevada’s Walker River. Water rights purchases are being considered to increase instream flow and improve habitat conditions. However, the effect of water rights purchases on stream temperatures and fish habitat have yet to be assessed. Manipulating flow conditions affect stream temperatures by altering water depth, velocity, and thermal mass. This study uses the River Modeling System (RMSv4), an hourly, physically based hydrodynamic and water quality model, to estimate flows and stream temperatures in the Walker River. The model is developed for two years (2011-2012). Study results highlight reaches with cold-water habitat that is suitable for native trout species. Previous research in other watersheds has evaluated instream flow changes with water rights purchases. This study incorporates stream temperatures as a proxy for trout habitat, and thus explicitly incorporates water quality and fish habitat into decision-making regarding water rights purchases.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sarah_null/32/