Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Simulation of flow and habitat conditions under ice, Cache la Poudre River - January 2006

January 1, 2007

The U.S. Forest Service authorizes the occupancy and use of Forest Service lands by various projects, including water storage facilities, under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Federal Land Policy and Management Act permits can be renewed at the end of their term. The U.S. Forest Service analyzes the environmental effects for the initial issuance or renewal of a permit and the terms and conditions (for example, mitigations plans) contained in the permit for the facilities. The U.S. Forest Service is preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) to determine the conditions for the occupancy and use for Long Draw Reservoir on National Forest System administered lands. The scope of the EIS includes evaluating current operations and effects to fish habitat of an ongoing winter release of 0.283 m3 /s (10 ft3 /s) from headwater reservoirs as part of a previously issued permit. The field conditions observed during this study included this release.

The U.S. Forest Service entered into an interagency agreement (05-IA-11021000-030) with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Fort Collins Science Center to perform analysis of fish habitat and flow relationships in the Cache la Poudre River during winter ice-over conditions using a twodimensional hydrodynamic model. The U.S. Forest Service selected the Fort Collins Science Center for this task because of their expertise in developing two-dimensional hydraulic models for habitat modeling applications. This report transmits model results to the U.S. Forest Service to analyze the effects of alternative flow scenarios at a site on the mainstem Cache la Poudre River in Larimer County, Colorado, near Kinikinik (40° 42' 44.16" N. lat, 105° 44' 30.70" W. log), as shown in figure 1. It will be used in pending environmental analyses and decisions for the occupancy and use of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest by water storage facilities.

The water management scenarios of interest in this study are related to releasing water from Chambers and Barnes Meadows Reservoirs, based on the assumption that winter flow augmentation can increase potential fish habitat. Figure 2 shows the relationship between Chambers, Barnes Meadows, and Long Draw Reservoirs. At the time this study was proposed, existing flow simulation results showed that the channel constraints imposed by existing artificial low-head dikes would have little or no effect on the hydrodynamics of the river at the low flow levels that were to be evaluated. The Kinikinik study site contains deep pools, riffles, and runs. This diversity of habitat types made it ideal for assessing the effects of altered flow on fish habitat under ice in the main stem Cache la Poudre River. Thus, the Kinikinik site was selected for this study of winter habitat conditions.

The preexisting topographic and hydrologic data collected at this site enabled data collection efforts for this study to focus on describing streamflow and ice cover during the winter months. A two-dimensional hydrodynamic model, River2D (Steffler and Blackburn, 2002), was used to simulate flow conditions under the ice cover that was observed January 24, 2006.

The objectives of this study are (1) to describe the extent and thickness of ice cover, (2) simulate depth and velocity under ice at the study site for observed and reduced flows, and (3) to quantify fish habitat in this portion of the mainstem Cache la Poudre River for the current winter release schedule as well as for similar conditions without the 0.283 m3/s winter release.

Publication Year 2007
Title Simulation of flow and habitat conditions under ice, Cache la Poudre River - January 2006
DOI 10.3133/ofr20071282
Authors Terry Waddle
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2007-1282
Index ID ofr20071282
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center