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Practitioner Updates on the Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration
November 16, 2009
1.  November 18 Webinar: Colorado ELOHA Project

John Sanderson and Thomas Wilding, coauthors of Colorado’s Watershed Flow Evaluation Tool and Water Supply Study, will explain how quantitative flow-ecology relationships were developed for two river types, based on a literature search of 149 documents. You are invited -- Webinar information attached.

2.  Michigan’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool wins national award

Michigan’s WWAT received the Council of State Governments Innovations Award, joining “an elite group that represents best practices in state governments across the country.”  As of July 2009, applicants for new water withdrawal licenses in Michigan are required to use the online tool to assess the risk of their proposed withdrawals adversely impacting resources.  Adverse impact is determined by flow-ecology response curves for 11 river types linked to a ground-water/surface-water model.  To use the tool, go to

3.  Connecticut’s draft environmental flow standards unveiled
Draft narrative and numeric standards were released for public comment on October 13.  The innovative standards protect aquatic community structure and function by regulating groundwater and surface-water withdrawals and reservoir operations according to the time of year and a river’s ecological condition class.  To read the proposed regulation, go to
4. Mexican water authority commits to environmental flow regulation
On Nov 9, the Director General of CONAGUA publically announced his agency’s commitment to promulgate a Standard on Environmental Flows in México by 2010.  The technical standard is likely to prescribe a hierarchy of methods for determining environmental flows, including an ELOHA-like framework for regional assessment.
5.  Southeast Instream Flow Network website launched
SIFN assists 15 southeastern United States in instituting protective instream flow policies.  Check out their new websites: and
6.  Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration V7.1 launched
The Nature Conservancy’s IHA program for calculating ecologically relevant statistics from daily streamflow data can now generate flow-duration curves and has an improved algorithm for comparing data from two time periods.  For free software, tutorial, manual, and online training, go to
7.  New publications
·         Amos A. L. (2009) Freshwater conservation: a review of Oregon water law and policy.  Phase I Report. The Nature Conservancy, 127 p. (Evaluates opportunities and impediments to environmental flow protection through policy reform – contact

·         Brown L. R. & Bauer M. (in press) Effects of hydrologic infrastructure on flow regimes of California's Central Valley rivers: implications for fish populations. River Research and Applications. (Contact:

·         Forslund A., Renöfält B. M., Barchesi S., Cross K., Davidson S., Farrell T., Korsgaard L., Krchnak K., McClain M., Meijer K. S. & Smith M. (2009) Securing water for ecosystems and human well-being: the importance of environmental flows. Swedish Water House Report 24. SIWI, 51 p. [full text]

·         Gastèlum J. R., Valdès J. B. & Steward S. (2009) An analysis and proposal to improve water rights transfers on the Mexican ConchosBasin. Water Policy 11: 79-93.

·         Garrick D., Siebentritt M. A., Aylward B., Bauere C. J. & Purkey A. (2009) Water markets and freshwater ecosystem services: Policy reform and implementation in the Columbia and Murray-Darling Basins. Ecological Economics. [abstract]

·         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 [abstract]

·         Kennard M. J., Pusey B. J., Olden J. D., Mackay S. J., Stein J. L. & Marsh N. (2009) Classification of natural flow regimes to support environmental flow management. Freshwater Biology. [abstract]

·         MacDonnell L. J. (2009) Environmental flows in the Rocky Mountain West: a progress report. Wyoming Law Review 9: 335-396.

·         Olden J. & Naiman R. J. (2009) Incorporating thermal regimes in environmental flows assessments: modifying dam operations to restore freshwater ecosystem integrity. Freshwater Biology. [abstract]

·         Poff, N.L , and Zimmerman, J.K.H. (2009)  Ecological responses to altered flow regimes: a literature review to inform environmental flow science and management. Freshwater Biology.

·         Pusey B., Kennard M., Hutchinson M., Sheldon F., Stein J., Olden J. & McKay S. (2009) Ecohydrological regionalisation of Australia: a tool for management and science. Land and Water Australia Technical Report PN22591, 253 pp. [full text]

·         Rypel A. L., Haag W. R. & FIndlay R. H. (2009) Pervasive hydrologic effects on freshwater mussels and riparian trees in southeastern floodplain ecosystems. Wetlands 29: 497-504.

·         WWF-Canada (2009) Canada's Rivers at Risk: Environmental Flows and Canada's Freshwater Future.

·         Zimmerman, Julie K.H., Nislow, K.H., Letcher, B.H., and Magillian, F.J. (in press) Determining the effects of dams on sub-daily variation in river flows at a whole-basin scale. River Research and Applications.  (Contact

8.  ELOHA Toolbox website news

Share your resources with the entire ELOHA community by posting them.  Case studies, references, links, and text additions all are welcome.  We especially encourage postings on environmental flow policy advances from outside the United States.  Send your contributions to​.  The site is usefully organized according to the main steps of ELOHA, with cited references linked to a comprehensive bibliography.  Case studies from around the world are being tracked, with your help.   Thank you to all contributors, past and future.
Eloise Kendy, Ph.D.
Director, Environmental Flows Program
The Nature Conservancy
Global Freshwater Team
656 N. Ewing
Helena, MT59601
Tel: +1 406 495 9910