Analysis of Hydrologic Data for the White River Basin

Craig, Melanie A. and Wise, William R. and Kitchens, Wiley E. (2001) Analysis of Hydrologic Data for the White River Basin. Gainesville, FL, University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit,

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Abstract

The value of the natural resources of the White River Basin (Basin), AR is recognized by the area's designation as a "Wetland of International Importance". The Basin constitutes one of the Nation's largest remaining intact forested wetland landscapes, second only to the Atchafalya Basin. It supports the North American continent's largest concentration of over-wintering mallard ducks, a world-class trout fishery, the last vestige of a big river fishery remaining in the Mississippi River Basin, and numerous threatened and endangered species. The continued viability of this wetland ecosystem depends on the suitability of the hydrologic environment to the resident flora and fauna. Numerous modifications of the Basin hydrologic features in the past century have seriously impaired the sustainability of these resources. The Basinwide alterations of hydrologic processes (e.g., impoundment and regulatory releases of flows and volumes in the upper reaches, navigational modifications of lower reaches, and consumptive demands for agricultural use throughout) have affected the hydrology of the system profoundly. The result is highly regulated flows and stages, vastly altered hydrologic patterns, over-stabilized water levels, and disruption of seasonal water distribution patterns. Given the critical nature of hydrology in regulating the structure and function of wetland ecosystems, the impacts have been devastating, particularly to the critical bottomland hardwoods that support the Basin's fish and wildlife resources. To date these piece-meal, system-wide, hydrologic alterations have cornmutatively degraded the habitat value of this resource for fish and wildlife in the Basin, and have lead to changes in their numbers and distributions. In spite of the enormous stakes involved, there has been no comprehensive characterization of the Basin hydrology. System alterations such as channel deepening, dam construction, water allocation plans, and flood control measures are currently pending. These projects will potentially hrther modify the hydrologic environments of the Basin, and no doubt require mitigation measures. In addition, there is genuine interest in restoring aspects of the Basin's historic hydrologic regime within some set of reasonable limits. In order to proceed with this effort, the anticipated effects of these modifications and restorations on the Basin ecology require thorough study of the area's historic hydrology, so that connectivity among Basin precipitation patterns, flow fluctuations, and land use changes can be made. A basin hydrologic characterization is an initial component of this effort. The focus of this effort was to determine and assemble the data set from which characterization of the hydrologic environments of the Basin using historic and recent water level, flow, (primarily by USGS-WRD) at locations throughout the Basin could proceed. ( Document has 11 pages.)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Analysis of Hydrologic Data for the White River Basin
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Craig, Melanie A.
Wise, William R.
Kitchens, Wiley E.
Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Projects: Research Work Order no. 203
Department: Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Institution: University of Florida
Issuing Agency: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Uncontrolled Keywords: White River Basin; Arkansas; hydrology; species
Subjects: Conservation
Biology
Limnology
Environment
Policies
Item ID: 1001
Depositing User: Stephanie Haas
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2008 00:44
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 21:17
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/1001

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