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IERM Overall Objectives. Quantify relationship between hydrologic and hydraulic attributes and effects on selected ecological performance indicators in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River system.

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ierm overall objectives
IERM Overall Objectives
  • Quantify relationship between hydrologic and hydraulic attributes and effects on selected ecological performance indicators in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River system.
  • Use these relationships to establish criteria that can be used in the Shared Vision Model (SVM) to provide the “acceptability or tolerance” range for each H&H attribute.
  • Serve as tool to assist ETWG in developing alternative regulation plan proposals.
computational flow in ierm
Computational Flow in IERM

System Geometry


Land cover


Solar Radiation


Air Temp


Initial Conditions



Bottom substrate

Management Actions

Fish stocking/ harvesting

Land use

Nutrient loads

Natural Stressors

ANS (e.g., zebra mussels)

Fish-eating birds

Lake and upper River

Water level time series

Flow at

Moses-Saunders Dam

Tributary inflows to lower river

Temperature in lake

Velocity in upper river

Velocity & water levels in lower river

Temperature in upper river

Temperature in lower river

Wetland habitat

Plant community

Lake and upper river

Wetland habitat

Plant community

lower river

Impoundment habitat

Plant community

Lower river

Fish habitat WUA


Fish habitat WUA

Upper river

Fish habitat WUA

Lower river

Fish Bioenergetics


Fish Bioenergetics

Upper river

Fish Bioenergetics

Lower river

Dabbling ducks - LR

Fish pop/comm



Fish pop/comm dynamics

Upper river

Fish pop/comm


Lower river

Wetland birds - LR

Wetland bird HSI

Muskrat abundance

Lake and upper river

Muskrat abundance

Lake and upper river

Wetland bird metrics

properties of ierm
Properties of IERM
  • Time-dependent deterministic model
    • Computation flows from plan-driven H&H attributes to ecological endpoints (measures of PIs)
  • Driven by basic system geometry, hydrometeorology, and water level/flow time series for given regulation plan
  • Model will cover three integrated zones: Lake Ontario, upper St. Lawrence River, lower St. Lawrence River
  • Model will illustrate justification for H&H attribute criteria
immediate questions to resolve
Immediate Questions to Resolve
  • List all “measures of Performance Indicators” to include in IERM
  • Describe cause-effect pathways between H&H attributes (stressors derived from implementation of a given plan) and each Performance Indicator measure included in model
    • These pathways will form impact evaluation functions that may be used to establish criteria for plan formulations
    • Not clear if IS concept and approach in SVM will continue to be used (plan detailed meeting with SVM developers)
draft measures of performance indicators

Availability, diversity, and quality of plant community

Annual biomass production


Habitat supply (WSA) (between/within year)

Risk of within year habitat loss

Northern pike YOY production

Northern pike population, structure, size

Fish guild biomass (type of guilds?)


Dabbling duck nesting success

Dabbling duck brood survival

Dabbling duck migration success

Wetland breeding bird diversity




Indicator species diversity and abundance

Special Interest species and habitats

Draft – Measures of Performance Indicators

Fish Cause-Effect Pathways (Example)

Water Level

& Flow


Fish Species/Guild




YOY Abundance

  • Growth
  • Predation
  • Natural Mortality

Wetland Quantity

  • Total Area
  • Inundation Area

Fish Habitat


Wetland Quality

  • % Emergent Vegetation
  • % Floating Vegetation
  • % Submergent Vegetation
  • Cattails


Juvenile Abundance

  • Growth
  • Predation
  • Natural Mortality


Adult Abundance

  • Growth
  • Natural Mortality
  • Reproduction

Waterfowl Cause-Effect Pathways (Example)

Lower River

Water Level

& Flow

Total Habitat


Waterfowl P.I.

Nesting Success

  • Maximum nests
  • % of successful nests
  • by week

Water Level (@ Sorel)

Weekly Average

(late April thru July)

Brooding Success

  • Maximum broods
  • % of maximum broods
  • supported by emergent
  • marshes

Growing Season Avg.


Spring Average

(Apr 10 – May 7)

Migration Success

  • Maximum waterfowl
  • migration
  • % of maximum
  • waterfowl migration

Waterfowl Satisfaction Curves

(Lower St. Lawrence)

other issues to resolve
Other Issues to Resolve
  • Needs of faunal habitat characteristics/ resolution
    • Muskrats,amphibians, ducks, pike, palustrine birds, warm water fish guilds, etc.)
  • Spatial coverage and resolution by zone
    • Extrapolate 32 Lake Ontario wetlands to entire basin?
    • Use Lake Saint-Pierre Studies to “indicate” response of entire lower river?
  • Integration of range of time scales
    • From weekly to decadal
  • Exogenous factors of importance to each PI measure
    • Provided by individual specialists
  • How to value (express trends in terms of acceptable or unacceptable response to H&H attributes for given plan) PI measures?