Event Title

Keeping Wetlands Wet: Adapting to Uncertain Water Conditions at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

4-21-2010 10:00 AM

End Date

4-21-2010 10:05 AM

Description

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is located at the end of the Bear River as it enters the Great Salt Lake. The Bear River is highly variable and heavily appropriated. This research explores how the Refuge has adapted to the physical and institutional realities of wetland management under uncertain river conditions. We conducted semi-structured interviews with wetland and water rights experts in the Bear River Basin, complimented by archival research of water rights and river conditions. This research shows that over the last 10 years, BRMBR received about 15% of the water needed to maintain their wetland habitat July through September, while receiving more than it needs most other months; the magnitude of this difference varies by year. Because of this untimely and uncertain water supply, BRMBR uses an adaptive management approach to predict their annual water supply, prioritize wetland units to keep flooded, and monitor the effects of management decisions. This management approach does not seek to recreate the natural hydrology of the river, but does maintain the most migratory bird habitat possible, creates a means for sharing information about the river, and proves the beneficial use of BRMBR water rights; these are important steps in meeting Refuge goals and maintaining good relationships with other water users.

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Apr 21st, 10:00 AM Apr 21st, 10:05 AM

Keeping Wetlands Wet: Adapting to Uncertain Water Conditions at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Eccles Conference Center

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is located at the end of the Bear River as it enters the Great Salt Lake. The Bear River is highly variable and heavily appropriated. This research explores how the Refuge has adapted to the physical and institutional realities of wetland management under uncertain river conditions. We conducted semi-structured interviews with wetland and water rights experts in the Bear River Basin, complimented by archival research of water rights and river conditions. This research shows that over the last 10 years, BRMBR received about 15% of the water needed to maintain their wetland habitat July through September, while receiving more than it needs most other months; the magnitude of this difference varies by year. Because of this untimely and uncertain water supply, BRMBR uses an adaptive management approach to predict their annual water supply, prioritize wetland units to keep flooded, and monitor the effects of management decisions. This management approach does not seek to recreate the natural hydrology of the river, but does maintain the most migratory bird habitat possible, creates a means for sharing information about the river, and proves the beneficial use of BRMBR water rights; these are important steps in meeting Refuge goals and maintaining good relationships with other water users.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2010/Posters/10