Washington Water Science Center

Aquatic Ecosystems and Habitats

WAWSC activities related to aquatic ecosystems and habitats provides unbiased science, tools, and decision support to federal, state and tribal natural resource managers to help them better manage aquatic habitats needed to support species of cultural and economic value with consideration of water use needs for human consumption, irrigation and hydropower energy production. Studies performed by the WAWSC inform how changes in land cover and water use affect the timing and magnitude of river flows and sediment transport and the subsequent impact on the abundance and location of specific types of aquatic habitats. These studies generate data and predictive models to help resource managers evaluate management scenarios and restoration activities.

Filter Total Items: 36
Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Coal Transport

The Issue: Federal and state natural resource managers and Tribes are concerned with the environmental impacts from unintentional release of coal dust from train cars during transport through the Northwest. Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon would substantially increase rail traffic through the Northwest and the release of coal dust to the environment...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

South Fork Nooksack River Basin Groundwater and Surface-water Interactions and Processes

High water temperatures and low instream flows during the summer have been identified as some of the key limitations for the viability of South Fork Nooksack River salmon populations including summer and spring-run Chinook salmon. Restoration strategies including the placement of engineered log jams, the restoration of floodplains and wetlands, and instream flow negotiation have been developed...

Date published: January 1, 2015
Status: Completed

White River Bioenergetics

The White River Basin is located in western Washington and drains an area of about 500 square miles. Rivers in the White River Basin are fed by melt water from glaciers on Mt. Rainier, runoff from snowmelt and rain, and groundwater discharge. Beginning in the early to mid-twentieth century, the White River from river mile (RM) 9 to its confluence with the Puyallup River was extensively...

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 1, 2014
Status: Completed

Nooksack River Streamflow and Network Analysis

The Lummi Nation is partner to six USGS streamflow-gaging stations in the Nooksack River basin that measure streamflow in small streams. The Lummi Nation uses data from these stations to help manage its natural resources and has requested that the USGS analyze the available data record. As a result, the USGS is using streamflow data collected in and near the Nooksack River basin to develop...

Date published: January 3, 2013
Status: Completed

Cedar River Peak Flow Management

The Cedar River watershed provides two-thirds of the water supply for the greater Seattle metropolitan region, in addition to being home to numerous federally listed salmon species. The City of Seattle, through Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), works closely with the Cedar River Instream Flow Commission (IFC) to adaptively manage flows on the Cedar River. Seattle operates its water management...

Date published: January 1, 2012
Status: Completed

Stormwater Microarray Study

Evaluation of Juvenile Trout Microarray Tools in the Development of an Ambient Monitoring Approach for Urban Streams

Contacts: Robert W Black
Date published: January 6, 2011
Status: Completed

Johns Creek Framework

Located in Mason County in western Washington State, Johns Creek is an important producer of coho and chum salmon. In 1984, the Washington State Department of Ecology established an Instream Resources Protection Program for Water Resource Inventory Area 14 (WAC 173-514) to retain sufficient in-stream flow to protect fish and wildlife, scenic, aesthetic and other environmental values. This...

Date published: January 1, 2011
Status: Completed

Lake Roosevelt-Upper Columbia River

Lake Roosevelt was formed on the Columbia River by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, and extends a total of 217 km to within 24 km of Canada The lake is heavily contaminated with trace elements that were discharged as slag material from a smelter in Canada; approximately 360 metric tons were discharged per day from 1900 to 1998. A study by the USGS reported that Lake Roosevelt bed...

Date published: January 2, 2010
Status: Completed

Mount Rainier Fluvial Geomorphology and River Sedimentation

To provide information for management efforts to reduce flooding and improve aquatic habitat in the Lower Puyallup River Basin (Puyallup, Carbon and White Rivers), Pierce County and other stakeholders are looking for river-system management options that consider the system's flood-carrying capacity and trends in sedimentation. To assist, the USGS is building a computerized hydraulic model of...

Date published: January 5, 2009
Status: Completed

Moses Lake Sediment

Located in central Washington, Potholes Reservoir is a key feature of the Columbia Basin Project and serves as a vital source of irrigation water. Potholes Reservoir has traditionally been fed water through the East Low Canal, but due to operational changes over the years, the Bureau of Reclamation is looking for reliable alternatives to ensure an adequate portion of water supply to Potholes...

Contacts: Mark Mastin
Date published: December 2, 2008
Status: Completed

Navigable Rivers in Washington

Determining whether a stream or river in Washington is "navigable" is important because it helps establish state ownership of the "bed and shore" of navigable waterways as stated in the Washington State constitution. State-owned lands are managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Because the constitution does not explicitly define what criteria should be used to...

Date published: January 4, 2008
Status: Completed

Mid-Columbia Habitat Project

To meet their dam licensing agreements, operators of privately owned dams are required to offset the unavoidable loss of endangered salmon passing the dam by restoring and enhancing streams and providing hatcheries. Finding suitable side channels is made difficult by subtle features and overgrowth.

To help the Mid-Columbia Tributary Committee identify sites for restoration and...

Contacts: Joseph Jones