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Practitioner Updates on the Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration
July 31, 2009
1.  Coming soon: international survey of environmental flow policies
WWF and TNC are collaborating on a survey and assessment of environmental flow policies that have emerged in different countries and contexts around the world.  The report should be completed during this calendar year. 
2.  World Bank releases new report on mainstreaming environmental flows
Based on case studies from around the world, this two-volume report examines where we’ve been, what the future needs are, and how to mainstream environmental flows into every aspect of water management, especially projects funded by the World Bank.

Hirji R. & Davis R. (2009) Environmental flows in water resources policies, plans, and projects: findings and recommendations pp. 212. The World Bank, Washington, DC. [full text]

3.  Proceedings of international workshop on flow re-allocation is now available

Once environmental flow needs have been determined, how can water be restored to over-allocated rivers?  In many places, water transactions, including trades and markets, are successfully moving water from agriculture and other offstream uses back into rivers.  This report synthesizes the findings and recommendations of esteemed panelists from around the world.

Garrick D., Wigington R., Aylward B. & Hubert G. eds. (2009) The Nuts & Bolts of Flow Reallocation. Proceedings of a workshop held February 22nd, 2009 in Port Elizabeth as part of the International Conference on Implementing Environmental Water Allocations. Boulder, CO: The Nature Conservancy. 38 p.

4.  Colorado ELOHA report is now available

This report may be the first to describe an actual application of ELOHA as it was intended by its developers, and it’s happening in one of the most water-contentious places in the world.

Camp Dressser & McKee Inc., Bledsoe B. D., Miller W. J., Poff N. L., Sanderson J. S. & Wilding T. K. (2009) Watershed Flow Evaluation Tool pilot study for Roaring Fork and Fountain Creek watersheds and site-specific quantification pilot study for Roaring Fork watershed (draft). Colorado Water Conservation Board, Denver, CO.

Appendix B (Wilding and Poff 2008) explains how quantitative flow-ecology relationships were developed for three river types, based on a literature search of 149 documents. Hydrologic metrics represent high and low flows, and ecological indicators are trout, warm-water fish, invertebrates, and riparian vegetation, as well as recreation.

Appendix C is the in-press ELOHA journal article by Poff et al.

5.  Two recent publications make the case for ELOHA-supported water management (without even knowing it).

See attached two files.  In Milly et al [2008], some of the world’s leading experts challenge us to generate new water management models for an unpredictable future.  In Understanding Water Risk, we learn the risks of not managing water resources sustainably – risks to businesses, risks to governments, risks to the poor, and of course, risks to natural systems. [abstract]
6.  Georgia appoints ELOHA coauthors to Statewide Comprehensive Water Management Plan panel
Brian Richter and Mary Freeman were recently appointed to the 12-person Science and Engineering Advisory Panel for implementing the Statewide Comprehensive Water Management Plan in Georgia, USA.  
7.  Use of Michigan’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool became mandatory July 9, 2009

Michigan’s new online tool is now required for use by applicants for new water withdrawal licenses, to determine whether their proposed withdrawals are likely to cause an adverse resource impact.  Adverse impact is determined by flow-ecology response curves for 11 river types linked to a ground-water/surface-water model.

8.  Tom Fitzhugh available for consulting

Formerly of TNC’s Global Freshwater Team, Tom has experience with assessments of hydrologic alteration, development of environmental flow recommendations, hydrologic modeling, and water resources applications of GIS.  During his 9 years with TNC, Tom worked on environmental flow and ecoregional planning projects internationally.  He is currently working as a consultant, and would be interested in hearing about any consulting opportunities related to ELOHA projects.  He can be contacted at and 360-402-4224. 

9.  Pennsylvania funds ELOHA development

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded a $230,000 grant to develop a tool to simulate natural streamflows, based on the Sustainable Yield Estimator developed by U.S. Geological Survey in Massachusetts.  For more information, contact Michele DePhilip,

10.  Potomac River basin ELOHA-ESWM hybrid launched

The Potomac River Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Nature Conservancy recently launched the Middle Potomac River Watershed Assessment, which will use a site-specific method (ESWM) and ELOHA to determine environmental flow needs for the river mainstem and its tributaries, respectively.  For more information, contact Stephanie Flack,

11.  Flow-ecology relations the focus of special session at NABS

LeRoy Poff, Julian Olden, Brian Bledsoe, and Michael Dunbar were among the heavy hitters who presented at the North American Benthological Society 2009 Special Session on Developing Flow-Ecology Response Relations to Support Regional Streamflow Management.  Links to their abstracts are posted on

12.  ELOHA Toolbox website receives more than 1,000 hits

… and that was only a few months after its launch.  Share your resources with the entire ELOHA community by posting them on this exciting new website,  Case studies, references, links, and text additions all are welcome.  Send your contributions to  Latest updates to the Toolbox include:

·         Best Practice in Environmental Flow Science and Policy: Guiding Principles by Rebecca Tharme

·         List of expertise needed for regional-scale environmental flow determination

·         North Carolina’s Senate Bill 907, model legislation establishing a new water rights system with permit granting linked to hydrologic models and strongly emphasizing conservation and efficiency as primary water management strategies.

·         Links to all of the reports mentioned above (except those attached to this email), as well as:

o              Le Quesne, T., G. Pegram and C. Von Der Heyden. 2007. Allocating scarce water: a WWF primer on water allocation, water rights and water markets. World Wide Fund for Nature: United Kingdom.
o              Sharon Pollard’s terrific presentation at the Implementing Environmental Water Allocation conference in February, exploring the obstacles to environmental flow provisions in South Africa.

o              Kennard M. J., Mackay S. J., Pusey B. J., Olden J. D. & Marsh N. (2009) Quantifying uncertainty in estimation of hydrologic metrics for ecological studies. River Research and Applications. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1249.

o              StateMod, Colorado’s hydrologic foundation

o              Michigan’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

For more information on any of the above news items, visit​ or contact me directly.
Eloise Kendy, Ph.D.
Director, Environmental Flows Program
The Nature Conservancy
Global Freshwater Team
656 N. Ewing
Helena, MT59601
Tel: +1 406 495 9910