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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-94
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-94
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Apr 2019

Research article | 17 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Assessing the Impacts of Hydrologic and Land Use Alterations on Water Temperature in the Farmington River Basin in Connecticut

John R. Yearsley1, Ning Sun2, Marisa Baptiste3, and Bart Nijssen1 John R. Yearsley et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195, USA
  • 2Energy and Environment Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, 99352, USA
  • 3King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Seattle, 98104, USA

Abstract. Aquatic ecosystems can be significantly altered by the construction of dams and modification of riparian buffers and the effects are often reflected in spatial and temporal changes to water temperature. To investigate the implications for water temperature of spatially and temporally varying riparian buffers and dam-induced hydrologic alterations, we have implemented a modeling system (DHSVM-RBM) that couples a spatially distributed land surface hydrologic model, DHSVM, with the distributed stream temperature model, RBM. The basic modeling system has been applied previously to several similar-sized watersheds. However, we have made enhancements to DHSVM-RBM that simulate spatial heterogeneity and temporal variation (i.e. seasonal changes in canopy cover) in riparian vegetation, and we included additional features in DHSVM-RBM that provide the capability for simulating the impacts of reservoirs that may develop thermal stratification. We have tested the modeling system in the Farmington River basin in the Connecticut River system that includes varying types of watershed development (e.g. deforestation and reservoirs) that can alter the streams’ hydrologic regime and thermal energy budget. We evaluated streamflow and stream temperature simulations against all available observations distributed along the Farmington River basin. Results based on metrics recommended for model evaluation compare well to those obtained in similar studies. We demonstrate the way in which the model system can provide decision support for watershed planning by simulating a limited number of scenarios associated with hydrologic and land use alterations.

John R. Yearsley et al.
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Short summary
This study investigates the impact of dam-induced hydrologic alterations and modification of riparian buffers on stream temperatures and thermal habitat for aquatic species. We enhanced and applied a model system (DHSVM-RBM) that couples a distributed hydrologic model, DHSVM, with the distributed stream temperature model, RBM, in the Farmington River basin in the Connecticut River system that includes varying types of watershed development (e.g. deforestation and reservoirs).
This study investigates the impact of dam-induced hydrologic alterations and modification of...
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