The value of short run in-stream temperature forecasts : an application to salmonids in the Klamath and John Day Rivers Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/qf85nd21n

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  • Water temperature is an important measure of water quality, as well as a dominant factor affecting aquatic life within the stream environment. Elevated water temperatures can decrease the survival rate of fish in each life stage. Cold water species, such as salmonids, are particularly susceptible to elevated water temperatures. For example, increased water temperatures are believed to have been the major cause of the large fish kill observed in the Klamath River in September 2002. This thesis examines the economic value of short-term water temperature forecasts for salmonid management. Forecasts may have value if they allow the water resource manager to make more cost-effective water allocation decisions. Specifically, this study considers two applications. One is the case of adult Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) returning to the Lower Klamath River in California, where cold water could be released upstream from the Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River to lower The Klamath River water temperature. Water releases create opportunity costs because of foregone hydropower production and crop irrigation. The second application is to juvenile summer steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the North Fork John Day River, where water could be purchased from agricultural uses to prevent excessive water temperature increases. This generates opportunity costs in the form of lower crop yields. This thesis incorporates bio-physical models and water temperature distribution data into a Bayesian framework to simulate the potential fish populations after ten generations and the corresponding opportunity cost of water under different forecast accuracies. Simulation results indicate that the marginal cost in the Klamath River decreases from about $80 per fish saved when the forecast standard deviation is 6 to about $40 when the forecast standard deviation is 0(perfect forecast). In the John Day River the marginal cost per fish decreases from $34 for a standard deviation of 6 to $29 for a standard deviation of 0. A key result of the thesis is the pattern of decreasing marginal costs as the forecast accuracy increases, suggesting that provision and use of such stream temperature forecasts would have value to society.
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