GEOSPATIAL ANALYSIS OF CHANGES IN RIVER-CHANNEL POSITION AND RIPARIAN VEGETATION OF THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER
Habitats along the river are changing in response to flood control, flow regulation, water diversion, land use, and the introduction of nonnative species. Dams, other public works, and urban growth intermingle with wildlife refuges, parks, agriculture, tribal lands, water-recreation centers, mining districts, and wilderness areas. This patchwork of different ownership and management priorities, in combination with severe constraints on the magnitude and timing of flow releases, creates obstacles for overall management of the ecosystem.
The objective of this project is to improve understanding of the history and rates of landscape and ecologic change along the lower Colorado River and of their effects on geologic and hydrologic processes. The datasets allow an analysis of historical changes in the rivers landscape and ecosystems, as well as modeling of the geomorphology of the river valley and related linkages between habitat, ground water, surface water, and sediment. Our goal is to provide reliable information on the geohydrologic framework of the ecosystem landscape in order to assist in management approaches to restoring and conserving habitats. An improved understanding of that framework can help form a basis for evaluating landscape and ecosystem sensitivity and for predicting the effects of future changes and alternative scenarios.