Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oklahoma
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oklahoma Project

Flow-ecology relationships of Red River stream fishes

August 2016 - December 2020


Participating Agencies

  • USGS Water Smart
Blue Sucker captured from the Red River, OK

Changes in weather patterns and anthropogenic disturbance have severely altered stream ecosystems. Consequently, stream fishes are declining at an alarming rate due in part to changes to flow regimes. Despite improved theoretical perspectives and analytical advancements, stream fish flow-ecology relationships remain poorly understood. This project is a collaboration among multiple U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Centers and the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to provide tools to stakeholders needed to allow stakeholders to develop policies that balance human water-use needs with the ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems. We are using modeled streamflow data and assemblage-level surveys from 1980-2016 to examine flow-ecology relationships of Red River stream fishes. In addition to providing important ecological information, the model will be used to predict future Red River stream fish distributions under different climate change and groundwater pumping scenarios. The resulting models from the ecological portion of the project will contribute to the development of conservation and management strategies and water-use policies in the south-central United States.