Development of a decision support tool for water and resource management using biotic, abiotic, and hydrological assessments of Topock Marsh, Arizona

Open-File Report 2016-1065
In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
By: , and 

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Abstract

Topock Marsh is a large wetland adjacent to the Colorado River and the main feature of Havasu National Wildlife Refuge (Havasu NWR) in southern Arizona. In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Bureau of Reclamation began a project to improve water management capabilities at Topock Marsh and protect habitats and species. Initial construction required a drawdown, which caused below-average inflows and water depths in 2010–11. U.S. Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) scientists collected an assemblage of biotic, abiotic, and hydrologic data from Topock Marsh during the drawdown and immediately after, thus obtaining valuable information needed by FWS.

Building upon that work, FORT developed a decision support system (DSS) to better understand ecosystem health and function of Topock Marsh under various hydrologic conditions. The DSS was developed using a spatially explicit geographic information system package of historical data, habitat indices, and analytical tools to synthesize outputs for hydrologic time periods. Deliverables include high-resolution orthorectified imagery of Topock Marsh; a DSS tool that can be used by Havasu NWR to compare habitat availability associated with three hydrologic scenarios (dry, average, wet years); and this final report which details study results. This project, therefore, has addressed critical FWS management questions by integrating ecologic and hydrologic information into a DSS framework. This DSS will assist refuge management to make better informed decisions about refuge operations and better understand the ecological results of those decisions by providing tools to identify the effects of water operations on species-specific habitat and ecological processes. While this approach was developed to help FWS use the best available science to determine more effective water management strategies at Havasu NWR, technologies used in this study could be applied elsewhere within the region.

Suggested Citation

Holmquist-Johnson, Chris; Hanson, Leanne; Daniels, Joan; Talbert, Colin; and Haegele, Jeanette, 2016, Development of a decision support tool for water and resource management using biotic, abiotic, and hydrological assessments of Topock Marsh, Arizona: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1065, 121 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161065.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Tier 1—Water Quality and Aquatic Biota Assessment
  • Tier 2—Emergent Vegetation Mapping and Assessment using Unmanned Aircraft and Remote Sensing Data
  • Tier 3—Hydrologic Model Development and Marsh Topography
  • Tier 4—Development of Decision Support System for Water and Resource Management
  • Limitations
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. User’s Manual for the Havasu NWR Decision Support System (DSS)
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 2. Report by Colorado State University: Mapping Land Cover and Invasive Tamarisk in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, AZ

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Development of a decision support tool for water and resource management using biotic, abiotic, and hydrological assessments of Topock Marsh, Arizona
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2016-1065
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161065
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description viii, 121 p.
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Topock Marsh
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N