Evaluation of Streamflow Extent and Hydraulic Characteristics of a Restored Channel at Soldier Meadows, Black Rock Desert–High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Nevada

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5143
Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management
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  • Document: Report (6.5 MB pdf)
  • Data Release: Data Release - Geospatial data and surface-water model archive for evaluation of streamflow extent and hydraulic characteristics of a restored channel at Soldier Meadows, Black Rock Desert–High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Nevada
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Abstract

The Soldier Meadows spring complex provides habitat for the desert dace, an endemic and threatened fish. The spring complex has been altered with the construction of irrigation ditches that remove water from natural stream channels. Irrigation ditches generally provide lower quality habitat for the desert dace. Land and wildlife management agencies are interested in increasing habitat extent and quality by filling in irrigation ditches and restoring streamflow to natural channels. The U.S. Geological Survey measured streamflow, surveyed topography, and combined light detection and ranging data to create a two-dimensional hydraulic model of the study area to understand how restoration would change streamflow extents and hydraulic characteristics. Streamflow measurements indicate that, except for a section of one irrigation ditch at the upstream end of the study area, the total volume of streamflow diverted into the irrigation ditches in the study area was minimal. Hydraulic modeling indicates filling in the irrigation ditch at the upper end of the study area would return streamflow to the natural channel, resulting in an increase in natural channel surface water extent, and a reduction of irrigation ditch surface water flow. The result would be a more heterogenous natural stream channel, ranging from shallow and slow to narrow and fast. 

Suggested Citation

Morris, C.M., 2021, Evaluation of streamflow extent and hydraulic characteristics of a restored channel at Soldier Meadows, Black Rock Desert–High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5143, 22 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205143.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Acquisition and Processing
  • Evaluation of Streamflow Extent and Hydraulic Characteristics
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Summary and Conclusion
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Evaluation of streamflow extent and hydraulic characteristics of a restored channel at Soldier Meadows, Black Rock Desert–High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Nevada
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5143
DOI 10.3133/sir20205143
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Nevada Water Science Center
Description Report: v, 22 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Nevada
Other Geospatial Black Rock Desert, High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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