The influence of groundwater withdrawal and land use changes on brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) thermal habitat in two coldwater tributaries in Michigan, U.S.A.


March 9, 2010 - Author: Kerryann E. Waco, William W. Taylor

Journal or Book Title: Hydrobiologia

Volume/Issue: 650

Page Number(s): 101-116

Year Published: 2010

Brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a sentinel fish species which requires clean, cold water habitats. As such, many jurisdictions in the United States where brook charr are present use this species as an indicator of ecosystem health. In Michigan, groundwater-dominated streams are currently being impacted by increased groundwater withdrawal and land use/land cover changes which alter stream temperatures and their flow, and thus have the potential to significantly influence brook charr production and behavior. We quantified the influence of groundwater withdrawal and land use alteration on thermal habitat availability for brook charr using a groundwater modeling tool that estimated changes in baseflow to a stream segment based on changes to the groundwater system due to groundwater withdrawal and changes in rates of recharge related to landscape changes within a watershed. Projected stream temperature changes were calculated using a stream temperature modeling tool and compared to the range of temperature preferenda for brook charr in order to evaluate the potential impact of policy decisions regarding water extraction and land use/cover changes. The models predicted relatively small changes in both stream baseflow and consequently, stream temperature, with increased groundwater withdrawal rates. Land use/land cover alterations which we analyzed were shown to either mitigate or enhance the loss of brook charr thermal habitat as a result of groundwater withdrawal, depending on its relationship to recharge dynamics. This study emphasizes the importance of collaboration between water, land, and fisheries managers to ensure brook charr population viability, productivity, and sustainability in the face of environmental change, increasing water use and development in the watershed.

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-010-0204-0

Type of Publication: Journal Article


Tags: center for systems integration and sustainability


William Taylor

William Taylor

Bill Taylor

Bill Taylor

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