Ecological Impacts of Flow

Streamflow regimes have a major influence on the physical and biological processes that determine the structure and dynamics of stream ecosystems. High flows are important in terms of sediment transport. They also serve to reconnect floodplain wetlands to the channel. Floodplain wetlands provide habitat for aquatic plants as well as fish and waterfowl. Low flows promote fauna dispersment, thus spreading populations of species to a variety of locations. The life cycles of many riverine species require an array of different habitat types, whose temporal availability is determined by the variable flow regime. Adaptation to this environment allows riverine species to persist during periods of adverse conditions such as droughts and floods.

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