Instream-Flow Analysis for the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico: Methods and Analysis

Scatena, F.N.; Johnson, S.L. 2001. Instream-Flow Analysis for the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico: Methods and Analysis. Gen. Tech. Rep. IITF-GTR-11. Rio Piedras, PR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry. 30 p.

This study develops two habitat-based approaches for evaluating instream-flow requirements within the Luquillo Experimental Forest in northeastern Puerto Rico. The analysis is restricted to instream-flow requirements in upland streams dominated by the common communities of freshwater decapods. In headwater streams, pool volume was the most consistent factor in predicting the abundance of common freshwater shrimp. In second- and third-order tributaries, both water depth and velocity can be used to define their habitats. The most common species of shrimp are reclusive during the day; at night they prefer areas of low velocity (<0.09 m/s) and areas shallower than 0.4 m. In headwater streams, total usable shrimp habitat declines rapidly when water depth in the deepest pools is less than 0.5 m. In second-and third-order tributaries, the amount of habitat declines rapidly when discharge is within one standard deviation of the average annual 7-day minimum flow. These dis-charges are typically exceeded between 95 and 99 percent of the time. Analysis of habitat loss associated with different instream-flow constraints showed that habitat loss increases greatly when water extraction is equal to or greater than Q98. Among-reach differences in the amount of usable habitat resulting from differences in channel morphology can be as high as 35 percent. Therefore, site-specific studies should be conducted when using habitat-preference relations in a particular area.