ERS personnel have the expertise needed to assess and mitigate impacts to riparian habitat, fish, benthic invertebrates, aquatic vegetation and algae in freshwater systems. We have designed and completed numerous fish population, instream flow, macroinvertebrate, plankton, periphyton, water quality, and habitat studies in streams, rivers and reservoirs in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
ERS ecologists have conducted many investigations in streams and rivers to assess effects of hydropower and water use projects on aquatic habitat, water quality and biological communities. We have assessed stream channel stability and watershed erosion for various mountain and plains ecosystems. ERS scientists have collected, analyzed and interpreted habitat utilization data and developed habitat suitability indices, and have used Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM; PHABSIM) to model physical habitat availability to identify critical stream reaches. Stream temperature models, using SNTEMP, have been used to assess water temperature suitability for various life stages of fish. Results from these investigations were used to identify and recommend instream flows for optimal fish habitat.
Many of our aquatic studies incorporate analyses of water quality, instream and riparian habitat, instream flow, periphyton, macroinvertebrates and fish for support of NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System), NPS (Non-Point Source pollution), NRDA (Natural Resource Damage Assessment), stream use-attainability and classification, and instream flow determination programs. We have also conducted numerous reservoir investigations, incorporating analyses of water quality, sediment and nutrient loading, plankton, and fish populations for support of FERC relicensing and other projects.
Our aquatic ecologists have reviewed and prepared numerous EAs, EIRs and EISs for support of NEPA and ESA projects. We have also prepared assessment, mitigation and monitoring plans for FERC relicensing support and tribal programs. Our staff has completed studies assessing impacts of heavy metals and pesticides on aquatic biota in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain areas.
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