Food Web Model Informs River Restoration on the Barkley Bear Segment, Methow River

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In planning restoration actions in rivers and streams, managers have typically used physical-based models.

USGS, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Reclamation scientists tested a biological-based food web model, the Aquatic Trophic Productivity (ATP) model, to inform the design a restoration project to improve conditions for declining numbers of juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Methow River, north-central Washington. The ATP model links stream environmental conditions to the dynamics of river food webs, and can be used to simulate how alternative river restoration designs influence the potential for river reaches to sustain fish production. Four restoration design alternatives that encompassed varying levels of restoration strategies were evaluated. Model simulations showed that designs that reconnected side channels and the adjacent floodplain may provide the greatest increase in fish carrying capacity. Findings suggested that using both physical and biological models when evaluating restoration design alternatives provides a better understanding of the potential outcome of restoration actions.

Benjamin, J.R., Bellmore, J.R., Dombroski, D., 2018, Using a food web model to inform the design of river restoration- An example at the Barkley Bear segment, Methow River, north-central Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1002, p. 24,


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