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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center » Livestock, Forage and Pasture Management Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #386932

Research Project: Integrated Agroecosystem Research to Enhance Forage and Food Production in the Southern Great Plains

Location: Livestock, Forage and Pasture Management Research Unit

Title: Enviromental flows to support riparian forest galleries in the Middle Rio Grande/Bravo Basin

item SAMIMI, MARYAM - Oklahoma State University
item MIRCHI, ALI - Oklahoma State University
item YILDIRIM, TUGBA - Oklahoma State University
item Moriasi, Daniel
item ALIAN, SARA - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/6/2021
Publication Date: 12/13/2021
Citation: Samimi, M., Mirchi, A., Yildirim, T., Moriasi, D.N., Alian, S. 2021. Enviromental flows to support riparian forest galleries in the Middle Rio Grande/Bravo Basin [abstract]. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17, 2021, New Orleans, Louisana. Available:

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.

Technical Abstract: Providing environmental flows is challenging in the middle portion of the Rio Grande/Bravo Basin (between Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico and Presidio, Texas) where water demand has continued to increase over time despite limited river water and dropping groundwater levels. Riparian ecosystems in this agriculture-dominated desert environment will likely become more vulnerable as competition over scarce water increases in the face of growing demand and dwindling supply. Little to no water is allocated to riparian ecosystems unless water or water rights are purchased or transferred to sustain those systems. Ongoing debates about providing environmental flows for riparian forest galleries in this water-scarce region have not been backed by quantitative modeling results of potential impacts on surface water and groundwater availability. We quantify water requirements to provide a menu of options for environmental flow allocation to establish cottonwood forest galleries. We apply hydrologic modeling under a projected warm-dry future to determine the frequency of river water availability for providing minimum environmental flows, and to evaluate water budget tradeoffs associated with environmental flow allocations in this region. Results inform water resources management decisions that support riparian habitats.