Proposing environmental flows based on physical habitat simulation for five fish species in the Lower Duero River Basin, Mexico

Felipe Armas-Vargas, Oscar Escolero, Diego García de Jalón, Luís Zambrano, Marta González del Tánago, Stefanie Kralisch


Background. The concept of “environmental flow” is defined as hydrologic regimes that are required to sustain ecosystem health and functions in rivers. In Mexico, it has become an important topic, not least because a 2012 legal standard (NMX-AA-159-SCFI-2012), establishes procedures for determining instream flow requirements. Goals. The aim of this paper is to propose an acceptable environmental flow requirement for a regulated river segment in the Duero River Basin in, Michoacan, Mexico. Methods. Of the many methods of establishing environmental flows in rivers, this article is concerned with the habitat simulation method. This is based on the IFIM theoretical framework and the PHABSIM mathematical model, by which the WUA-Q curves were obtained for five species of fish. Results. From these curves, we determined that the Goodea atripinnis species has the greater habitat area and reached a maximum of 4338 m2/km for a flow of 5 m3/s; Alloophorus robustus maintained a constant habitat of 2000 m2/km between flow rates of 5 to 15 m3/s. With smaller area, Menidia jordani had a maximum habitat of 1323 m2/km for 4.5 m3/s; and with WUA less than 500 m2/km the curves of the species Algansea tincella and Aztecula sallaei were obtained. Conclusions. The average regulation in March and April was 3.61 and 3.44 m3/s and with the EFR proposal it was 5.11 and 5.00 m3/s for March and April, respectively. In general,
the monthly environmental regime is to maintain 80% of the natural flow regime, generating an increase in habitat during the dry season of 24% for A. robustus and 23% for A. sallaei.

Palabras clave

Algansea tincella; Duero River; environmental flows; habitat simulation.

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