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Open-File Report 2008–1251

Development and Application of a Decision Support System for Water Management Investigations in the Upper Yakima River, Washington

By Ken D. Bovee, Terry J. Waddle, Colin Talbert, James R. Hatten, and Thomas R. Batt


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The Yakima River Decision Support System (YRDSS) was designed to quantify and display the consequences of different water management scenarios for a variety of state variables in the upper Yakima River Basin, located in central Washington. The impetus for the YRDSS was the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study, which investigated alternatives for providing additional water in the basin for threatened and endangered fish, irrigated agriculture, and municipal water supply. The additional water supplies would be provided by combinations of water exchanges, pumping stations, and off-channel storage facilities, each of which could affect the operations of the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) five headwaters reservoirs in the basin. The driver for the YRDSS is RiverWare, a systems-operations model used by BOR to calculate reservoir storage, irrigation deliveries, and streamflow at downstream locations resulting from changes in water supply and reservoir operations. The YRDSS uses output from RiverWare to calculate and summarize changes at 5 important flood plain reaches in the basin to 14 state variables: (1) habitat availability for selected life stages of four salmonid species, (2) spawning-incubation habitat persistence, (3) potential redd scour, (4) maximum water temperatures, (5) outmigration for bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) from headwaters reservoirs, (6) outmigration of salmon smolts from Cle Elum Reservoir, (7) frequency of beneficial overbank flooding, (8) frequency of damaging flood events, (9) total deliverable water supply, (10) total water supply deliverable to junior water rights holders, (11) end-of-year reservoir carryover, (12) potential fine sediment transport rates, (13) frequency of events capable of armor layer disruption, and (14) geomorphic work performed during each water year. Output of the YRDSS consists of a series of conditionally formatted scoring tables, wherein the changes to a state variable resulting from an operational scenario are compiled and summarized. Increases in the values for state variables result in their respective backgrounds to turn green in the scoring matrix, whereas decreases in the values for state variables result in their respective backgrounds turning red. This convention was designed to provide decision makers with a quick visual assessment of the overall results of an operating scenario. An evaluation matrix and a variety of weighting strategies to reflect the relative importance of different state variables are also presented as options for further distillation of YRDSS results during the decision-making process.

Version 1.0

Posted August 2008

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Suggested citation:

Bovee, K.D., Waddle, T.J., Talbert, C. Hatten, J.R., and Batt, T.R., 2008, Development and Application of a Decision Support System for Water Management Investigations in the Upper Yakima River, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1251, 289 p.





Study Areas

Resource Issues


Organization and Functionality of the YRDSS

Beta Test Runs of the YRDSS

Interpretation and Evaluation of Results

References Cited

Appendix 1. Two-Dimensional Hydraulic Simulations of the Union Gap and Wapato Reaches

Appendix 2. Geographic Information System Operations

Appendix 3. Sediment Transport Lookup Tables from the SIAM Model

Appendix 4. YRDSS Run Results for the Blackrock_2 Scenario

Appendix 5. YRDSS Run Results for the Wymer_1 Scenario

Appendix 6. YRDSS Run Results for the WymerPlus Scenario


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