USGS - science for a changing world

CASCaDE Project



Data by Task

1) Climate
2a) Watershed
2b) San Francisco Bay
3) Delta
4) Sediment
5) Contaminants
6) Invasive species
7) Fish

Project data are posted on this website as they become available.

CASCaDE: Computational Assessments of Scenarios of Change for the Delta Ecosystem

CASCaDE II updates (2010-present)

Executive Summary of CASCaDE II Proposal (full proposal HERE)

This proposal builds upon an existing model-based effort to develop a holistic view of the Bay-Delta-River-Watershed system. CASCaDE I developed a set of linked models to assess Delta ecosystem response to climate change.  In CASCaDE II, we propose to refine and extend those modeling capabilities to assess Delta ecosystem response to changes in climate and physical configuration. With a new state-of-the-art hydrodynamic and sediment model at its core, CASCaDE II will link models of climate, hydrology, hydrodynamics, sediment, geomorphology, phytoplankton, bivalves, contaminants, marsh accretion, and fish.

Our goals are to apply these linked models to 1) better understand Delta ecosystem function, 2) assess possible futures of the Delta under scenarios of climate and structural change, and 3) provide science-based information to support the DSC in its co-equal goals of water supply and ecosystem protection. The tools developed will provide an objective basis for anticipating and diagnosing Delta ecosystem responses to planned and unplanned changes.  Experiments using the linked models are designed to address questions such as: How will climate change, together with new conveyance structures or increased flooded island habitat, alter water flow and drinking water quality? With projected changes in residence time, turbidity, temperature, and salinity, how will primary productivity, invasive bivalves, marsh processes, contaminant dynamics, and fish populations respond?

CASCaDE I description and products (2006-2010)
(see also "Data by Task" to the left)

This is the CASCaDE Project web site. This project was funded by the CALFED Science Program.

The CASCaDE project comprises an approach for determining how multiple drivers of environmental change would interact to change ecosystems targeted for restoration by CALFED. CASCaDE is aimed not at predicting the future, but at building an understanding of how the ecosystem might respond to a few plausible scenarios of change.

Design of this study is built from hypotheses that: (1) California's hydrology will change during the 21st century in response to global warming; (2) ecosystem structure and function will respond to changes in California's water supply, population, land use, sea level, constructed habitats and storage-conveyance facilities, and potential levee failures; (3) sufficient information is available to project plausible scenarios of change in each of these forcings; (2) climatic, hydrologic, hydrodynamic, water-quality, geomorphic and ecosystem processes are linked in the Bay-Delta-River-Watershed system, and thus models to project future conditions there must also be linked; and (5) strategic planning by CBDA will benefit from mechanistic, ecosystem-scale projections of future forcings and responses, posed as plausible scenarios of system change.

We are developing, modifying, and linking numerical models of key processes to explore likely BDRW responses to plausible future external and internal changes. The cascading effects of changes under these scenarios will be followed as they propagate from the climate system to watersheds to river networks to the Delta and San Francisco Bay. The resulting linked modeling system will provide a scenario evaluation capability that may be used subsequently (in follow-on projects) to assess a variety of possible management approaches to accommodating the projected changes.

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