The tailwaters of Beaver Lake and other White River reservoirs support a cold-water trout fishery of significant economic yield in northwestern Arkansas. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has requested an increase in existing minimum flows through the Beaver Lake dam to increase the amount of fishable waters downstream. Information is needed to assess the impact of additional minimum flows on temperature and dissolved-oxygen qualities of reservoir water above the dam and the release water. A two-dimensional, laterally averaged hydrodynamic, thermal and dissolved-oxygen model was developed and calibrated for Beaver Lake, Arkansas. The model simulates surface-water elevation, currents, heat transport and dissolved-oxygen dynamics. The model was developed to assess the impacts of proposed increases in minimum flows from 1.76 cubic meters per second (the existing minimum flow) to 3.85 cubic meters per second (the additional minimum flow). Simulations included assessing (1) the impact of additional minimum flows on tailwater temperature and dissolved-oxygen quality and (2) increasing initial water-surface elevation 0.5 meter and assessing the impact of additional minimum flow on tailwater temperatures and dissolved-oxygen concentrations. The additional minimum flow simulation (without increasing initial pool elevation) appeared to increase the water temperature (<0.9 degrees Celsius) and decrease dissolved oxygen concentration (<2.2 milligrams per liter) in the outflow discharge. Conversely, the additional minimum flow plus initial increase in pool elevation (0.5 meter) simulation appeared to decrease outflow water temperature (0.5 degrees Celsius) and increase dissolved oxygen concentration (<1.2 milligrams per liter) through time. However, results from both minimum flow scenarios for both water temperature and dissolved oxygen concentration were within the boundaries or similar to the error between measured and simulated water column profile values.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of hydrodynamics, temperature, and dissolved oxygen in Beaver Lake, Arkansas, 1994-1995