Using ecologically relevant hydrologic indices to examine temporal changes in unregulated streams in Kansas

Jonathan Aguilar, James Koelliker, David Chandler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Irrigation water demand in the Great Plains region is lowering groundwater levels, reducing base flow and dewatering vulnerable streams. In western Kansas, groundwater has ceased to supply dependable baseflow to previously perennial streams. The change in baseflow has altered both the natural flow regime of streams and the level of in stream connectivity among pools at low flow. Previous studies have shown that changes occurring in streams have adverse impacts on freshwater ecosystem and fish species distribution. The objective of this study was to document stream flow regime changes for unregulated streams in four geographically distinct regions across Kansas using 60 or more years of daily discharge data. The analysis focused on spatial differences and temporal changes in hydrologic indices relevant to the lotic ecosystem for fourteen unregulated streams. Log Pearson III method was used for computing flow probabilities. The Mann-Kendall test in conjunction with Sen's slope estimator was used for trend analysis. Indicators of Hydrologic Alterations software was used to generate hydrologic indices. Results show a substantial difference in streamflow characteristics between western and eastern regions. Temporally variable indices include median, zero and 1 cfs flow, and timing of low flow. Most streams in western Kansas now have longer and more frequent dry periods. Moreover, the timing of these dry periods could adversely impact essential ecological services and functions. Results of this study are intended to guide decision makers, watershed stakeholders, and environmental conservation advocates in addressing problems and concerns related to stream and river management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2010, ASABE 2010
PublisherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Pages3163-3173
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781617388354
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2010, ASABE 2010
Volume4

Keywords

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Great Plains
  • Hydrologic indices
  • Kansas
  • Streamflow
  • Trend analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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  • Cite this

    Aguilar, J., Koelliker, J., & Chandler, D. (2010). Using ecologically relevant hydrologic indices to examine temporal changes in unregulated streams in Kansas. In American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2010, ASABE 2010 (pp. 3163-3173). (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2010, ASABE 2010; Vol. 4). American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.