Managing for Floodplains and Aquatic Species: A Framework for Multi- Objective Reservoir Operations
A daily time-step optimization model was created to evaluate the tradeoffs between the Connecticut River's natural environmental services and its reservoirs' multiple uses. The model includes 54 reservoirs whose purposes range from hydropower production, flood control, recreation, and water supply. This paper evaluates the relationships between flood control and environmental flows for aquatic species and floodplain health. Environmental flow targets, developed by aquatic scientists and biologists, are based on a return to more natural flows. Stakeholders determined allowable percent deviations from natural flows for each ecological species of interest, for each month of the year, at critical locations throughout the basin. The preliminary results of this model indicate that flows in the river can be returned to a more natural flow regime without significantly increasing the occurrence of flooding by adjusting existing operational storage targets.