Rapid population growth in the Western United States over the last century has placed increasing strains on our water supplies and aquatic ecosystems. Historically, water rights have been used to determine the allocation of water in the West, but rules and regulations related to endangered species now often drive how water is released from reservoirs in large rivers such as the lower Colorado and the Columbia. In numerous smaller watersheds, communities are trying to balance the water necessary for human use, irrigation, and the conservation of ecosystems. To assist managers in the face of increasing complexity and uncertainty in water management decision-making, the Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) is involved in developing a new generation of integrative tools. Below are some examples of the types of tools that already exist within the WFRC.
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USGS Numbered Series
Managing water in the West: developing new tools for a critical resource