Functional Age as an Indicator of Reservoir Senescence

It has been conjectured that reservoirs differ in the rate at which they manifest senescence, but no attempt has been made to find an indicator of senescence that performs better than chronological age. We assembled an indicator of functional age by creating a multimetric scale consisting of 10 metrics descriptive of reservoir environments that were expected to change directionally with reservoir senescence. In a sample of 1,022 U.S. reservoirs, chronological age was not correlated with functional age. Functional age was directly related to percentage of cultivated land in the catchment and inversely related to reservoir depth. Moreover, aspects of reservoir fishing quality and fish population characteristics were related to functional age. A multimetric scale to indicate reservoir functional age presents the possibility for management intervention from multiple angles. If a reservoir is functionally aging at an accelerated rate, action may be taken to remedy the conditions contributing most to functional age. Intervention to reduce scores of selected metrics in the scale can potentially reduce the rate of senescence and increase the life expectancy of the reservoir. This leads to the intriguing implication that steps can be taken to reduce functional age and actually make the reservoir grow younger. ::_ To read the rest of this article in Fisheries magazine (April 2015), visit: 

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