The Central Platte River often experiences high water temperatures during sunny, hot summer days. A 128-km reach of the Platte River downstream of two hydropower dams (Kingsley Dam and North Platte/Keystone Diversion Dam) was studied to determine the relationship between river summer water temperatures and river flow-rate, and the impacts of in-stream flow requirements upon peak water temperatures. This reach serves as a habitat for eight federally listed or endangered species, as well as over 300 species of migratory birds, including 500,000 sandhill cranes and 7-9 million ducks and geese. Hourly water temperatures were simulated using a dynamic numerical model (MNSTREM) with and without in-stream flow requirements. It was found that a clear relationship exists between river water temperatures and river flow-rate. In addition, it was found that the occurence of high water temperatures can be attributed to low river flow-rate and can be reduced, but not eliminated, with minimum in-stream flow requirements.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study discussed in this paper was funded by District Eight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, X998311-01. The authors would like to thank Bruce Zander, who provided encouragement and extensive review, and the members of the review panel, Steven C. McCutcheon of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Athens, GA; Frank L. Parker of Vanderbilt University; and Larry A. Roesner of Camp. Dresser and Mckee, Inc.