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Researchers have completed a statewide classification of river types in Washington based on 99 hydrologic metrics describing ecologically relevant characteristics of the natural flow regime (Reidy Liermann et al, in press). Metrics were calculated from continuous time series (>15 years of record) of mean daily discharge data for 52 stream gauges, and classification was undertaken using a fuzzy partitional method - Bayesian mixture modeling. This analysis has identified distinctive flow regime types that differ in their seasonal patterns of discharge, variation in low flow and flood magnitude and frequency, and other aspects of flow predictability and variability. Factors related to catchment (watershed) topology, surficial geology, and climate were found to be strong discriminators of flow regime, and this information is being used in statistical models to predict flow regime type and flow metrics for streams and rivers across the state. The spatial context provided by the hydrologic classification improves understanding of the interaction between hydrology and ecology in rivers of the Pacific Northwest United States, and provides a benchmark against which flow-ecology relationships can be assessed.
For more information about ELOHA in Washington, contact:
Julian D. Olden, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
University of Washington
Box 355020; Seattle WA 98195
+1 206-616-3112