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|Created:||Apr 30, 2019 at 5:43 p.m.|
|Last updated:|| Apr 30, 2019 at 10:16 p.m.
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The construction of Flaming Gorge Dam in 1964 caused significant changes to the channel form and juvenile fish habitat. To mitigate for degraded habitat, spring high flow dam operations were changed to improve juvenile off-channel habitat for razorback sucker. In this study, we evaluated whether these environmental spring flow releases can be met with future hydrology that incorporates climate change. We found that the model performed poorly in years with an average spring runoff and well in dry, moderately dry, and wet years regardless of whether climate change was considered. Next, we sought to increase the reliability of meeting environmental flow recommendations by adjusting the threshold values that define the hydrologic classification for each year and days at power plant capacity. We found that changing the threshold for each hydrologic classification was more sensitive than changing days at power plant capacity and that only by making extreme alterations of those values could we get significant improvement in the reliability of meeting environmental flow objectives.