Date of this Version
The primary objectives of this evaluation were to improve the performance of the Whooping Crane Habitat Suitability model (C4R) used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for defining the relationship between river discharge and habitat availability, and to assist the Service in implementing improved model(s) with existing hydraulic files. The C4R habitat model is applied at the scale of individual river cross-sections, but the model outputs are scaled-up to larger reaches of the river using a decision support “model” comprised of other data and procedures. Hence, the validity of the habitat model depends at least partially on how its outputs are incorporated into this larger context. For that reason, we also evaluated other procedures including the PHABSIM data files, the FORTRAN computer programs used to implement the model, and other parameters used to simulate the relationship between river flows and the availability of Whooping Crane roosting habitat along more than 100 miles of heterogeneous river channels. An equally important objective of this report was to fully document these related procedures as well as the model and evaluation results so that interested parties could readily understand the technical basis for the Service’s recommendations.