Predicting Relative Risk of Invasion by Saltcedar and Mud Snails in River Networks Under Different Scenarios of Climate Change and Dam Operations in the Western United StatesEPA Grant Number: R833833
Title: Predicting Relative Risk of Invasion by Saltcedar and Mud Snails in River Networks Under Different Scenarios of Climate Change and Dam Operations in the Western United States
Investigators: Poff, N. LeRoy , Auble, Gregor T. , Bledsoe, Brian P. , Dean, Denis , Friedman, Jonathan , Lytle, David , Merritt, David M. , Purkey, David , Raff, David A. , Shafroth, Patrick B.
Current Investigators: Poff, N. LeRoy , Auble, Gregor T. , Bledsoe, Brian P. , Friedman, Jonathan , Lytle, David , Merritt, David M. , Purkey, David , Raff, David A. , Shafroth, Patrick B.
Institution: Colorado State University , Oregon State University , Stockholm Environmental Institute , U.S. Bureau of Reclamation , U.S. Forest Service , United States Geological Survey [USGS]
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2012 (Extended to June 30, 2013)
Project Amount: $599,748
RFA: Ecological Impacts from the Interactions of Climate Change, Land Use Change and Invasive Species: A Joint Research Solicitation - EPA, USDA (2007) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Aquatic Ecosystems , Ecosystems , Climate Change
Predicting the spread and establishment of invasive species in river ecosystems under climate change requires developing models that mechanistically link species population success to climate-sensitive environmental drivers. The goal of this project is to build a general and mechanistic framework with which to predict the future potential distribution of two invasive species expected to expand their ranges under a warming climate in streams and rivers of the western US. We hypothesize that local site invasibility will be regulated by climate-sensitive thresholds of hydrogeomorphic disturbance, which will vary throughout river networks in response to reach-scale channel geomorphology, future precipitation regimes, and operation of dams, which modify natural flow regimes.
In a geographic region predicted to support saltcedar in the near future, we will downscale projected scenarios of temperature and precipitation as inputs to the Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model framework, allow us to generate streamflow regimes at ca. 50 km2 subbasins based on precipitation and water management operations (including dams). We will use an artificial neural network (ANN) model to spatially distribute the WEAP hydrologic predictions throughout river networks at the reach scale (100s of meters). These reach-scale flow regime predictions, in conjunction with GIS-derived measures of channel and valley bottom geomorphology, will allow us to apply our biological model to assess the most likely locations in river networks for successful saltcedar and mudsnail invasion, given the flow-mediated disturbance regimes of any of several future climate scenarios. Further, using the coupled WEAP-ANN model, we will explore how a range of water management operations might influence the likelihood of invasive establishment in these climate contexts. Finally, we will use innovative stochastic population models to evaluate the probability of long-term success of the invasive species across a range of habitat vulnerability.
This synthetic, multi-scale approach will generate a sequence of spatially explicit maps that will provide science guidance to support strategic decision-making regarding the spatially-distributed risk of, and possible adaptation to, the spread of invasive species at local to regional scales in the western US. The model will be general enough that it can be applied to other riverine species and resources, including non-invasive species.