A partnership of HRWC, RiverUp!, and the School of Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Michigan has resulted in the most extensive study of flows in the Huron River and responses of the fish community to the flow regime.

Download the Executive Summary for Study Objectives, Key Findings, Recommendations, and Future Work

Download the Full Report

What are environmental flows?

The quantity, timing and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater systems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend upon these ecosystems.

Decisions are made every day by water managers on the Huron River system that are based on slivers of information available to them. Dam operators, county commissioners, state natural resource and permitting staff, anglers and the fish they seek all are affected by water flows. An environmental flows plan for the river system that engages key partners and leads to restoration of a more natural flow regime is the end-goal. The University of Michigan study brings us closer to creating and activating such a plan.

The hydrologic regime of a river is a critical component of the system’s ecology. Hydrologic alteration in the Huron River system drives impairments such as hypereutrophication, suspended sediment, increased stream temperatures, and even dewatering. As such, it is viewed as one of the top two threats to the Huron River system’s integrity. Establishing environmental flows requires a look at the ecology of the system, understanding the current management of the river and reviewing local, state and federal policies that govern that management. Ultimately, water resource managers on the Huron River system need to be better prepared and able to address existing hydrologic challenges and respond to their exacerbation from a changing climate.

Thanks to the colleagues from the following agencies and affiliations for contributing time, knowledge, resources, or data to the project:

Charter Township of Ypsilanti

City of Ann Arbor

Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

U.S. Geological Survey