Brewer to present “Environmental Flows in an Arid Landscape”

Shannon Brewer
Shannon Brewer

Shannon Brewer, Oklahoma State University, will present “Environmental Flows in an Arid Landscape,” at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 4, in the Hardin Hall auditorium. Her talk is part of the Spring 2012 Water Seminar Series, cosponsored by the School of Natural Resources and the Nebraska Water Center, part of the Daugherty Water for Food Institute.


Stress on freshwater resources is increasing due to a variety of factors including rising global populations, industrialization, and climate change. The current landscape has been substantially altered to the degree that societal and ecological decisions need to be made to address how and where water allocation can be most effective. An important strategy to address this problem, defined as “instream flows,” has evolved to become the more broadly-defined “environmental flows” that includes societal-driven factors that may or may not benefit resident biota. Techniques currently used to define flow standards, while an improvement over previous techniques, have not moved the ecological portion of the science forward. Ecologists, particularly in arid landscapes, have the challenge to integrate landscape changes (e.g., fragmentation) into management decisions to determine if flow prescriptions are actually beneficial to wildlife and aquatic biota. This seminar will discuss examples from arid regions of the U.S. where flows needed to protect particular species require a better understanding of the ecological consequences of flow prescriptions in changing landscapes rather than a “one size fits most” approach.

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