Modeled streamflow metrics on small, ungaged stream reaches in the Upper Colorado River Basin

Data Series 974
Prepared in cooperation with Colorado State University
By:  and 

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Abstract

Modeling streamflow is an important approach for understanding landscape-scale drivers of flow and estimating flows where there are no streamgage records. In this study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Colorado State University, the objectives were to model streamflow metrics on small, ungaged streams in the Upper Colorado River Basin and identify streams that are potentially threatened with becoming intermittent under drier climate conditions. The Upper Colorado River Basin is a region that is critical for water resources and also projected to experience large future climate shifts toward a drying climate. A random forest modeling approach was used to model the relationship between streamflow metrics and environmental variables. Flow metrics were then projected to ungaged reaches in the Upper Colorado River Basin using environmental variables for each stream, represented as raster cells, in the basin. Last, the projected random forest models of minimum flow coefficient of variation and specific mean daily flow were used to highlight streams that had greater than 61.84 percent minimum flow coefficient of variation and less than 0.096 specific mean daily flow and suggested that these streams will be most threatened to shift to intermittent flow regimes under drier climate conditions. Map projection products can help scientists, land managers, and policymakers understand current hydrology in the Upper Colorado River Basin and make informed decisions regarding water resources. With knowledge of which streams are likely to undergo significant drying in the future, managers and scientists can plan for stream-dependent ecosystems and human water users.

Suggested Citation

Reynolds, L.V., and Shafroth, P.B., 2016, Modeled streamflow metrics on small, ungaged stream reaches in the Upper Colorado River Basin: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 974, 11 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds974.

ISSN: 2327-638X (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Study Area
  • Methods
  • Results and Data Products
  • Disclaimers
  • Summary
  • Accompanying Data Products
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Modeled streamflow metrics on small, ungaged stream reaches in the Upper Colorado River Basin
Series title Data Series
Series number 974
DOI 10.3133/ds974
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description Report: vi, 11 p.; Dataset
Country United States
State Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
Other Geospatial Upper Colorado River Basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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