Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David E. Rosenberg


David E. Rosenberg


Sarah E. Null


Karin M. Kettenring


David G. Tarboton


Mac McKee


Existing river management tools prioritize human uses and provide for ecosystem water needs as minimum instream flow requirements. Management efforts to provide water for multiple human and ecological needs can be improved by tools that recommend when, where, and how to allocate water between competing users across a river basin. This dissertation presents a set of tools in three studies to help managers make decisions on the allocation of water and money to improve habitat quality and area. The first study develops a new metric to measure habitat quality and area for priority river, riparian, and wetland species. The second study presents a new approach to address uncertainty in habitat models and focus management efforts on important factors to measure and monitor more carefully. The third study develops a tool to help water resources modelers share and display model results with policy makers and the public on web maps. These studies are applied to realworld problems in collaborations with river managers to provide insights and recommendation and help protect threatened species in the Lower Bear River, Utah. Results of the three studies show opportunities to most improve habitat area and quality while meeting human water needs. For example, releasing more water from Porcupine and Hyrum Reservoirs in winter months and reducing late spring spills can support brown trout spawning and Fremont cottonwood restoration efforts.