Validation of a Sturgeon Habitat to Discharge Model Using Fixed Position Time-Lapse Photography to Monitor Changes in River Habitat Conditions

Thursday, September 12, 2013: 2:20 PM
Harris Brake (The Marriott Little Rock)
Edward J. Peters , Parham and Associates Environmental Consulting, LLC, Gallatin, TN
James E. Parham , Parham & Associates Environmental Consulting LLC, Gallatin, TN
Relationships between river discharge and habitats for fishes in sand bed rivers are complex. In a previous project, we used historic aerial imagery of the lower Platte River photographed over a range of discharge levels to develop mathematical models that describe changes in the amounts of various instream habitats with respect to discharge. These models were then used to estimate the amount and connectivity of habitats available for Pallid Sturgeon and Shovelnose Sturgeon in the lower Platte River over a range of river discharges. Subsequent to the development of the habitat vs. discharge models, the USGS and the Platte River Time Lapse Project ( established stations that regularly photograph the lower Platte River from fixed locations. We reorganized these image sequences to compare instream habitat to discharge and observed good consistency with our previously developed relationships. The images also provided a more detailed understanding of the impact of past flood events on current conditions. Time-lapse images provided insight to research opportunities and simplified explanations of complex hydrologic changes to the general public. We recommend that similar photographic records be considered as a part of  monitoring regimes on other systems.