Explore NABS

Pervasive alteration of flow in US streams and rivers

Published On: 11/8/2010

A new USGS national assessment finds that nearly 90% of US streams and rivers have altered flow.

 
The amount of water flowing in streams and rivers has been significantly altered in nearly 90% of waters that were assessed in a new nationwide USGS study, which is the most geographically extensive analysis to date. Flow alterations are a primary contributor to degraded river ecosystems and loss of native species. The severity and type of stream flow alteration varies among regions, due to natural landscape features, land practices, degree of development, and water demand. Differences are especially large between arid and wet climates. In wet climates, watershed management is often focused on flood control, which can result in lower maximum flows and higher minimum flows. Extremely low flows are the greatest concern in arid climates, in large part due to groundwater withdrawals and high water use for irrigation.

The study identified over 1,000 unimpaired streams to use as reference points to create stream flow models. The models were applied to estimate expected flows for 2,888 additional streams where the USGS had flow monitoring gauges from 1980-2007. The estimated values for the 2,888 streams were compared to actual, measured flows to determine the degree to which streams have been altered.

This study was conducted by the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program, which has assessed the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of streams and rivers across the nation since 1991.Water-quality data from more than 1,300 locations, much of it in real-time, are available through USGS Water Quality Watch. Instant, customized updates about water conditions also are available by subscribing to WaterAlert.

Click here to read the USGS press release.





Share this:
What's New
  • Fall 2017 Issue of In the Drift now available! more
  • Making Waves Ep. 25: Modeling Environmental DNA Movement in Streams, Arial Shogren more
  • September 2017 Issue of Freshwater Science now online more
  • Does Cultural Diversity Matter to Scientific Societies? Read the President's Environment more
  • SFS Student Presentation Awards! more
  • In the drift just fell into your sampler! The Spring 2015 Newsletter is here! more
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 14: Nitrogen Fixation in a Warming World, Dr. Jill Welter more
BENTHOS News
  • Andy Leidolf appointed as SFS Executive Director

     

    more
  • SFS LOGO CONTEST VOTE!

    Over 60 logos were submitted by 28 individuals and narrowed to 3 finalists. Now is your chance to select the winner.

    more
  • SFS signs two letters sent to the US EPA regarding the Trump Administration's proposed revisions to the Waters of the US rule



    more
  • COMPETITION CLOSED - SFS announces logo redesign competition. Submissions due 21 Aug. 2017.

    more
  • Please take a short survey on the SFS logo redesign

    more

More SFS News...

Back to Top
NABS Logo
© 2015 Society for Freshwater Science
Membership Services:
(435) 797-9270 | sfsmembership@usu.edu