Outflow from Norfork Lake and other White River reservoirs support a cold-water trout fishery of significant economic yield in north-central Arkansas and south-central Missouri. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has requested an increase in existing minimum flows through the Norfork Lake dam to increase the amount of fishable waters downstream. Information is needed to assess the impact of increased minimum flows on temperature and dissolved-oxygen concentrations of reservoir water and the outflow.
A two-dimensional, laterally averaged, hydrodynamic, temperature, and dissolved-oxygen model was developed and calibrated for Norfork Lake, located on the Arkansas-Missouri State line. The model simulates water-surface elevation, heat transport, and dissolved-oxygen dynamics. The model was developed to assess the impacts of proposed increases in minimum flow from 1.6 cubic meter per second (the existing minimum flow) to 8.5 cubic meters per second (the increased minimum flow). Simulations included assessing the impact of (1) increased minimum flows and (2) increased minimum flows with increased water-surface elevation of 1.1 meter in Norfork Lake on outflow temperatures and dissolved-oxygen concentrations.
The increased minimum flow simulation (without increasing initial water-surface elevation) appeared to increase the water temperature and decrease dissolved-oxygen concentration in the outflow. Conversely, the increased minimum flow and initial increase in water-surface elevation (1.1 meter) simulation appeared to decrease outflow water temperature and increase dissolved-oxygen concentration through time. However, results from both scenarios for water temperature and dissolved-oxygen concentration were within the boundaries or similar to the error between measured and simulated water column profile values.