Flow-ecology relationships and environmental flows assessment for the Ozark-Ouachita Interior Highlands and the West Gulf Coastal Plains
Providing adequate water quantity and quality in streams and rivers is a pressing issue worldwide. Determining appropriate environmental flows in streams is critical for defining and designing landscapes capable of sustaining natural resources at desired levels. This proposal develops the second phase in a multi-year study, involving many partners and a series of steps towards the goal of producing the scientific basis for environmental flow standards within the Ozark-Ouachita Interior Highlands and the West Gulf Coastal Plains. Important products of this work will be regional flow-ecology relationships that will form the scientific framework for setting environmental flow standards and understanding impacts of land use and climate change. These flow-ecology relationships will help determine environmental flow needs in the Ozark-Ouachita Interior Highlands and the West Gulf Coastal Plains.
Quantification of hydrologic alteration and relationships to biota in Arkansas streams: Development of tools and approaches for un-gaged streams
Providing adequate water quantity in streams and rivers is a pressing issue worldwide. For this reason, it is crucial to determine appropriate flows in streams to conserve fish and wildlife (environmental flows). An important component of determining environmental flows is determining hydrologic alteration. Additionally, the ability to determine hydrologic alteration for sites where discharge data do not exist is crucial to examining environmental flows for most streams in the U.S. The objective of this study is to determine hydrologic alteration at un-gaged stream sites. Knowledge of hydrologic alteration at un-gaged stream sites will allow us to, 1) map flow alteration throughout Arkansas and the surrounding region, 2) relate flow alteration to biological data at multiple spatial scales and for multiple stream types and sizes, and 3) relate flow alteration to land use/land cover.
Invasive species effects, population status and population genetics of crayfish species of greatest conservation need (Orconectes marchandi, Orconectes eupunctus, and Cambarus hubbsi) in the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas and Missouri
Crayfish are extremely important in most freshwater systems, typically acting as keystone species. There are multiple crayfish species of greatest conservation need in the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas and Missouri. The Mammoth Spring crayfish, Orconectes marchandi, and the Coldwater Crayfish, Orconectes eupunctus, are two of our most geographically restricted stream crayfish and are considered imperiled in Arkansas, Missouri and globally, and candidates for listing by the USFWS. Hubbs’ crayfish, Cambarus hubbsi, is another narrow range endemic occurring in north-central Arkansas and south-central Missouri. The threat of an advancing invasive species, along with potential habitat loss and fragmentation, makes determining potential invasive species effects, population status and population genetics of these species extremely important. We propose to determine population status of Orconectes marchandi, Orconectes eupunctus, and Cambarus hubbsi by comparing abundance and occupancy rates from 1998-1999 to those from a recent study in 2010-2011. We will also examine population genetics of Orconectes marchandi and compare current and historical genetic diversity. We will use genetic data to examine population structure, gene flow among sub-populations, and potential ESU’s for O. marchandi. Simulation models will be used to determine potential effects of an invasive crayfish on O. marchandi, O. eupunctus, and C. hubbsi populations.