Large-scale streamflow experiments

Science Center Objects

Because the underlying cause of riparian system alteration is often attributed to the effects of dams on flow regime, managing flow releases, particularly high flows, from dams is an often-advocated approach to river and riparian restoration. Our work has focused on understanding effects of managed high flow releases (a.k.a., pulse flows, controlled floods) from dams along rivers in the lower Colorado River basin.

On the Bill Williams River in western Arizona, we have had the opportunity to help design and monitor the effects of several high flow releases since the mid 1990’s. On the main stem of the Colorado River, we helped study the effects of the 2014 “pulse flow” to the Colorado River delta (Minute 319), and are working with a range of collaborators to provide input to possible future releases to the delta (Minute 32X). Finally, we are working with collaborators from USGS, USDA Forest Service, and Northern Arizona University to understand how different groups of riparian plants (“riparian response guilds”) respond to high flow experiments on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.