EPA Science Inventory

Primer for identifying cold-water refuges to protect and restore thermal diversity in riverine landscapes - EPA 910-C-12-001

Citation:

Torgersen, C., J. Ebersole, AND D. Keenan. Primer for identifying cold-water refuges to protect and restore thermal diversity in riverine landscapes - EPA 910-C-12-001. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-12/038, 2012.

Description:

This primer provides guidance to Region 10 Tribes, States, and local watershed community groups to support the identification, protection, and restoration of critical cold water refuges for the protection of salmonids. This primer will assist these entities in implementing the EPA Region 10 water quality standard for temperature which is an important aspect of restoring threatened and endangered salmonids. An important cornerstone of the Region 10 water quality criteria for temperatures protective of salmonids is the understanding that the region?s streams and rivers were naturally thermally diverse. While waters often were at temperatures that exceeded the thermal requirements of salmonids, these waters often supported robust populations of salmonids. This was possible due to waters that were thermally diverse, with rivers and streams providing sufficient cold-water pockets, either spatially or temporally, such that salmonids could survive and flourish in what were otherwise ?warm? waters. Loss of thermal complexity has likely contributed to the decline of salmonid populations, particularly in warmer streams and rivers. Region 10 recognized the importance of cold-water refuges and natural thermal diversity in its Guidance on Temperature Water Quality Criteria. States and Tribes are subsequently adopting the Temperature Guidance and beginning to implement it. Information is critically needed to identify, protect, and restore cold-water refuges. This primer provides a current state of the science report, combining recent important studies, field experience, new technologies and tools to assist States, Tribes, and local watershed groups in restoring and protecting the natural thermal patterns that will bring Pacific Northwest waters in compliance with the water quality temperature standard.

Purpose/Objective:

This primer provides guidance to Region 10 Tribes, States, and local watershed community groups to support the identification, protection, and restoration of critical cold water refuges for the protection of salmonids. This primer will assist these entities in implementing the EPA Region 10 water quality standard for temperature which is an important aspect of restoring threatened and endangered salmonids. An important cornerstone of the Region 10 water quality criteria for temperatures protective of salmonids is the understanding that the region?s streams and rivers were naturally thermally diverse. While waters often were at temperatures that exceeded the thermal requirements of salmonids, these waters often supported robust populations of salmonids. This was possible due to waters that were thermally diverse, with rivers and streams providing sufficient cold-water pockets, either spatially or temporally, such that salmonids could survive and flourish in what were otherwise ?warm? waters. Loss of thermal complexity has likely contributed to the decline of salmonid populations, particularly in warmer streams and rivers. Region 10 recognized the importance of cold-water refuges and natural thermal diversity in its Guidance on Temperature Water Quality Criteria. States and Tribes are subsequently adopting the Temperature Guidance and beginning to implement it. Information is critically needed to identify, protect, and restore cold-water refuges. This primer provides a current state of the science report, combining recent important studies, field experience, new technologies and tools to assist States, Tribes, and local watershed groups in restoring and protecting the natural thermal patterns that will bring Pacific Northwest waters in compliance with the water quality temperature standard. Contact: Christian Torgersen USGS-FRESC, Cascadia Field Station, Seattle, WA; 206-616-1874; ctorgersen@usgs.gov

URLs/Downloads:

PRIMER FOR IDENTIFYING COLD-WATER REFUGES TO PROTECT AND RESTORE THERMAL DIVERSITY IN RIVERINE LANDSCAPES   (PDF,NA pp,  KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PUBLISHED REPORT/HANDBOOK)
Start Date: 03/28/2012
Completion Date: 03/28/2012
Record Last Revised: 10/10/2012
Record Created: 05/17/2012
Record Released: 05/17/2012
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 243611

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH