Chesapeake Bay researchers go with the flow
"Working through the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Stream Health Workgroup, a group of researchers at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin recently studied how altered flows affect the biological health of small streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The group used an index of benthic macroinvertebrate life in the watershed that classifies stream health as poor, fair or good, and then matched this up with the predicated alteration in a stream’s flow. To determine the flow alteration, the USGS looked at metrics such as flow duration, frequency and magnitude. A computer model was developed to predict what these metrics would be in a natural, undisturbed watersheds and compare them to conditions in watersheds with known human influences on stream flow—thereby establishing a baseline of what the flow should be vs. what it is now.
The team produced a map of the Chesapeake Bay watershed that shows the “flow alteration intensity” on a scale from 1-12, with 12 indicating the highest level of degraded health due to stream flow alterations."
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