Maintaining healthy water flows to maintain the important ecological services provided by our waterways has become an increasing priority, further complicating the balancing act to satisfy multiple water users and needs. More than ever, we need solutions that achieve the multiple objectives of multiple stakeholders in a credible way. Aqua Strategies high-level capabilities include planners, engineers and environmental scientists who collect and analyze the data to achieve project goals. Our capabilities include the development of models used to calculate environmental flows. Aqua Strategies staff have completed projects to determine environmental flows for all 23 watersheds in Texas, the Kiamichi and Blue River Basins in Oklahoma, and most major estuaries along the Texas Coast.
Project: Ecological Benefits of Augmented Colorado River Freshwater Inflow to East Matagorda Bay
Client: Texas Water Development Board and Bay-Basin Stakeholder Committee Date: 2015-2016 Keywords: Environmental Flows; Water Planning; Water Modeling; Stakeholder Involvement; Public Policy; Resilience; Risk Analysis; Decision Support Tools; Data Collection; Data Analysis; Data Visualization
In a project funded by the Texas Water Development Board for the Senate Bill 3 Bay-Basin Area Stakeholder Committee, Aqua Strategies Inc. provided conceptual design for a proposed water pipeline delivering augmented freshwater inflow to East Matagorda Bay from the Lower Colorado River. East Matagorda Bay has become much more saline over time, due to a combination of natural processes, USACE channelization and other engineering works that cut off the bay from the fresh water flowing down the Colorado River. The Gulf Intracoastal Water Way (GIWW) has also effectively cut off freshwater flows entering the estuary from the small coastal watersheds east of the river. This hydrologic restoration project studies the impact of environmental flows to improve the ecological health of this Texas coastal bay.
Aqua Strategies calculated the timing and delivery rate for freshwater, including the frequency and conditions under which diversion from the river would likely occur. Using existing models, studies and readily available salinity, habitat and aquatic species data, Aqua Strategies developed approximate costs and plans for the infrastructure necessary to convey the fresh water, starting from a number of different points on the lower Colorado to delivering water to a number of different locations within East Matagorda Bay. This initial appraisal work will help determine if it is appropriate to move forward with a full feasibility study.