EPA Science Inventory

Vulnerability of Oregon Hydrologic Landscapes and Streamflow to Climate Change - 5/20/2014

Citation:

Leibowitz, S., R. Comeleo, P. Wigington, C. Weaver, P. Morefield, E. Sproles, AND J. Ebersole. Vulnerability of Oregon Hydrologic Landscapes and Streamflow to Climate Change - 5/20/2014. Presented at 2014 Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, May 18 - 23, 2014.

Description:

Hydrologic classification systems can provide a basis for broadscale assessments of the hydrologic functions of landscapes and watersheds and their responses to stressors. Such assessments could be particularly useful in determining hydrologic vulnerability from climate change. A Hydrologic Landscape (HL) classification approach developed by EPA for the State of Oregon has been used to assess streamflow vulnerability due to climate change. Statewide results indicate a significant loss of area that currently provides spring or summer snowmelt, switching to area characterized by winter rains and earlier runoff. The study also demonstrates how the climatic and geologic information provided by the HL approach can be applied at three case study basins. In particular, increased winter discharge and reduced summer baseflow could adversely impact winter and summer survival of threatened and non-threatened salmonids. This is especially true for basins such as the Middle Fork John Day, because of high magnitudes of changes in habitat suitability and availability during the summer months. The study serves as a proof-of-concept application that coupling of HL information with climate change projections can inform aquatic resource management.

Purpose/Objective:

Hydrologic classification systems can provide a basis for broadscale assessments of the hydrologic functions of landscapes and watersheds and their responses to stressors. Such assessments could be particularly useful in determining hydrologic vulnerability from climate change. A Hydrologic Landscape (HL) classification approach developed by EPA for the State of Oregon is being used to assess streamflow vulnerability due to climate change. Statewide results of this analysis indicate a significant loss of area that currently provides spring or summer snowmelt to area characterized by winter rains and earlier runoff. The study also demonstrates how the climatic and geologic information provided by the HL approach can be applied at three case study basins. In particular, increased winter discharge and reduced summer baseflow could adversely impact winter and summer survival of threatened and non-threatened salmonids. This is especially true for basins such as the Middle Fork John Day, because of high magnitudes of changes in habitat suitability and availability during the summer months. The study serves as a proof-of-concept application that coupling of HL information with climate change projections can provide a vulnerability assessment that informs resource management.

URLs/Downloads:

LEIBOWITZ.JASM.ABSTRACT.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 11.748 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Completion Date: 05/27/2014
Record Last Revised: 05/27/2014
Record Created: 05/27/2014
Record Released: 05/27/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 276907

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH