Success stories/projects we want to feature on the overall Success stories page.

Salt Basin Groundwater System Appropriation—New Mexico

Lynker’s scientist, under contract with the NM State Engineer’s office developed a MODFLOW numerical groundwater model and a NETPATH geochemical model to characterize the Salt Basin aquifer in southern NM. Environmental tracers and geochemical evolutions were used to delineate recharge zones, identify groundwater flow paths, characterize fracture flow, and estimate groundwater flow rates and permeability. Radiocarbon dating of groundwater was used to calibrate the MODFLOW model to estimate annual recharge and determine appropriable water for administration by the State.

Environmental Protection Agency Economic Assessments

For more than eight years, Lynker Senior Scientist Dr. Cameron Wobus has supported the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in developing national-scale analyses to estimate and quantify the economic impacts of climate change on multiple sectors. He has developed customized models to quantify the impacts of climate change on the downhill skiing industry; damages from inland flooding events; and extreme heat metrics across the United States. Each of these studies has been published in the peer-reviewed literature, and the majority of the results were used to support the National Climate Assessment.

Jamestown Automated Flood Warning System

In the wake of the September 2013 Jamestown flooding and ensuing damage, the Town of Jamestown, Colorado has been working to improve early warning systems for the Town. This project assessed the current systems in place to provide early flood and rainfall warnings and proposed improvements to that system. In addition, the Lynker team developed a desktop analysis of rainfall and geographic data from the 2013 flood events to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing rain/stream gauge network and flood early warning system near Jamestown.

During the analysis, our team explored numerous geo-spatial data products (point, line, polygon, and raster) for the James Creek watershed to fully understand the meteorological and hydrological response of the basin. Using the spatial data products, we developed a comprehensive heat map of the James Creek region to highlight regions of preferential gauge placement. Our staff performed field site assessments within each of the 4 regions of the watershed identified in the analysis. Preferential gauge sites were located and documented for further review (e.g. GPS coordinates, site photos, and parcel information). We also performed a live transmission test at each field location to evaluate the communication signal strength.

Upon final evaluation of the existing gauge network, site visit analysis, budgetary overview, and communications with emergency management personnel, the Lynker team developed a final recommendation for a new rain gauge location that provides enhanced basin rainfall coverage and the highest likelihood of advanced warning lead time during heavy rainfall events.

Waters of the United States Jurisdiction

For the US Department of Justice, Dr. Cameron Wobus provided technical litigation support for several cases related to Clean Water Act jurisdiction in a variety of different environments. In each case, the legal question was whether particular waters affected by contaminant releases were jurisdictional under either or both of the standards put forth in the 2006 Supreme Court decision in the Rapanos v. United States case. Tasks included review and synthesis of relevant environmental and hydrologic data, site visits, preparation of expert reports, and deposition testimony.

Deepwater Horizon Injury Assessment

From 2010-2015, Lynker senior scientist Dr. Cameron Wobus assisted the State of Louisiana with data analysis and modeling to support the NRDA for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. His tasks included quantification of miles exposed to shoreline oiling and accelerated coastal erosion rates, the development of a hydrodynamic model of oil fate and transport in Louisiana bays, and the development of techniques to quantify the extent of water column toxicity to early life stage fish in offshore waters.

Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority

Since the spring of 2018, Lynker has been supporting the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) with restoration planning for coastal marsh restoration in the Barataria Basin. Tasks include coordination between CPRA and the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (established as part of the Deepwater Horizon settlement) and preparing restoration planning documentation to comply with National Environmental Policy Act and Oil Pollution Act regulations. Senior Scientist Dr. Cameron Wobus also supported CPRA in technical analyses to support restoration planning and permitting for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, which will reconnect the Mississippi River to the Barataria Basin to provide a sustainable source of sediment to replenish marsh habitats.

Chatfield Watershed Model

The Chatfield Watershed Authority requested a modeling solution that would aid in tracking sources of phosphorus from the watershed and allow for the evaluation of management decisions. Lynker teamed with an experienced engineering firm to complete the project which included a thorough model selection process, data collection of hydrologic and water quality data, data gap analysis, and building and calibrating a HSPF water quality model. The model was built to track total phosphorus loading to Chatfield Reservoir so that best management practices could be implemented to reduce total phosphorus concentrations. Model development included the collection of model input data (precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, wind speed, land use, soils data, etc.), watershed delineation, as well as point source loading data. The hydrologic component of the model was calibrated using USGS streamflow data, while the water quality processes were calibrated using grab sample data provided by the Chatfield Watershed Authority. The model is used to connect with the Chatfield Reservoir model to complete management scenario analyses in the future.

California Climate Change Assessment

Lynker completed a climate-change impact analysis for a confidential client in California. The purpose of the study was to provide climate-impacted hydrology (streamflow, irrigation water demand) for a future planning horizon. Our team provided a low-cost solution by utilizing existing Bureau of Reclamation Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) climate change runs processed through the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model. The future climate-impacted hydrology from 2020-2049 (streamflow, evapotranspiration) was compared to a baseline hydrology from 1970-1999, to determine a monthly set of “change factors” for water supply and water demand (streamflow and irrigation water demand, respectively). The change factors were applied to the historical hydrology datasets to create climate-adjusted timeseries for streamflow and water demand, which were used to evaluate future water supply conditions.

Colorado River Water Availability Study

The Colorado River Water Availability Study (CRWAS) was commissioned by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to study the changes in water supply and demand moving into the future. The first phase of the work was completed in 2012; and a second phase was completed in 2015. An important component of the study was analyzing the impacts of climate change on future streamflow for the Colorado River (CRWAS Phase I) and later the entire state (CRWAS Phase II). CRWAS Phase I utilized statistically downscaled GCM outputs in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 3 (CMIP3) archive, which included 112 projections of future model forcings (temperature and precipitation) from different models and initial conditions. The “Delta” approach was used to map changes derived from the GCM outputs onto historical daily weather to develop projected weather forcings. Baseline conditions (historical weather) and projected weather were used to force the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model. Comparison of VIC outputs for these two cases gives changes in runoff that were mapped to historical natural flows through a second application of the Delta approach. The use of the Delta approach reduced model bias (from the GCMs and the VIC model) and allowed the work to be based on long-term historical records with which the project stakeholders are familiar and comfortable.

An innovative approach was used to combine change signals for future weather with variability informed by long term (1,200-year-long) records of flows reconstructed from tree rings. The current Phase II effort has updated the results of Phase I to include GCM outputs from 97 projections in the CMIP5 climate change projection archive (a total of 209 runs), and to develop a new and superior approach to developing a small set of planning scenarios. CRWAS Phase II outputs have been provided in a ⅛-degree grid and at the 10-digit Hydrologic Unit (USGS HU), so as to provide readily-accessible climate change data for localized watersheds.

State of Oklahoma Watershed and Water Permitting Management

Lynker developed and calibrated CRAM models for the Red, Verdigris, Muddy Boggy, Blue, and North Canadian River Basins from 2010 to 2015. Since then we have worked with OWRB and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to update model operations to conform to USBR management of individual reservoirs within the basins. The modeling work for the river basins includes flow naturalization for the basin, simulation of pipeline transfers, reservoir operations, evaporative losses, and groundwater pumping. Lynker staff also worked on Oklahoma’s Comprehensive Water Plan, which provided a detailed analysis of water supply and demand throughout the state by watershed projected to 2060. Our work on the Comprehensive Plan included a climate change analysis, calculating adjustment factors for flow and consumptive irrigation requirement (or irrigation demand) for 2030 and 2060, which were then used to adjust natural flow and historical evaporation.