Solution specific articles for Water & Environmental Resources.

South Platte Decision Support Systems Model

Lynker was contracted by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to develop a water rights model for a Colorado Water District under the South Platte Decision Support Systems project. The SPDSS program covers the development of similar water rights models across all of Water District 1 (the South Platte River).  This effort was the most ambitious attempt to date to develop a model that will account for every major water rights operation across the entire South Platte River basin.  All models under SPDSS were developed using the StateMod software, using the Colorado Decision Support Systems (CDSS) Hydrobase dataset as the source for all data.

The model built by Lynker was designed to handle a large number of different water users and systems operations including irrigation demands and subsurface return flows, transbasin diversions from the Western Slope, municipal demands, instream flow rights, reservoir fill and release operations and changed water rights.

The model development process consisted of baseflow development, detailed water rights case research, model calibration and validation, and finally integration into the larger SPDSS system.  Initially the Lynker team developed a dataset of natural flows—what would have happened on the river assuming no human intervention—to serve as a baseline for the model calibration process.  Detailed water rights research was then used to program operating rules within StateMod to simulate historical operations and recreate how history played out in the most accurate way. Modeled diversions, reservoir contents and streamflows were compared to historical data to evaluate the skill of the model at accurately recreating history.  Through this process, the model was built to a consistent standard; the high quality of our work was praised by the client at the CWCB.

Instream Flow Modeling to Support Hydroelectric Plant Permit Application

Pitkin County required technical services to understand both the water rights and instream flow impacts of various operations of a proposed hydroelectric plant on Castle Creek. The project team developed a model to analyze optimal hydroelectric operations based on existing water rights and historic streamflow. Once the model operations had been confirmed, the team developed and ran many test cases to optimize power production while maintaining instream flow. Ideal instream flow targets were based on results of existing R2CROSS analyses as well as stream levels deemed acceptable by the community.

Once the optimization process was completed, it was the job of the project team to effectively communicate the stream impacts to the client. Using the Indices of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) protocol, details of the changes in streamflow regime were presented in a manner more understandable to the general public.

Lynker leads stream stewardship project through citizen science and adaptive management

Lynker staff developed an adaptive management framework for Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group that serves as an outline to ensure success of stream restoration for Left Hand Creek. Lynker, along with LVBrown Studio, developed a conceptual model which described the changes of Left Hand Creek watershed during floods. This model illustrates how the channel, riparian zones, and components of the ecological community in the creek changes over time. Lynker worked with project stakeholders to develop the Monitoring and Assessment Framework. These stream assessment protocols were used by citizen scientists to evaluate fish habitat, riparian habitat, wildlife, and invasive species. The project ended with a pilot test of the citizen science monitoring protocols including an analysis of results comparing citizen scientist scores to professional scores.

This monitoring and assessment framework serves as a living document for Lefthand leaders to use for future citizen science projects, and an outline for other agencies to develop their own adaptive management programs to ensure continued success of restoration projects.

Lynker Scientists Working with State of Colorado on First-of-its-Kind Climate Risk Analysis Project

Lynker scientists are currently working with the State of Colorado on a first-of-its-kind climate risk analysis project – Future Avoided Cost Explorer (FACE: Colorado Hazards). This statewide study estimates dollar-value damages from future floods, droughts, wildfires across select sectors of Colorado’s economy. The State of Colorado has recognized that these hazards are likely to worsen as the impacts of climate change intensify the severity of the hazards and as population growth increases the number of people at risk.

By helping Coloradans better understand their current and future economic risks from flood, drought, and wildfire, this tool can help stimulate the implementation of smart adaptation strategies and policy frameworks that can improve the prospects for sustainable prosperity in a rapidly changing environment.

View and explore the FACE: Hazards dashboards to understand how changes in global climate patterns can lead to more frequent and intense hazards in Colorado.

Future Avoided Cost Explorer: Colorado Hazards (FACE:Hazards)





World Water Day 2020

Managing water is a growing concern in communities across the US. Many of the states that have projected population growth increases also have higher per capita water use and can expect increased competition for water resources. Forty states expect to have water shortages over the next ten years that are not related to drought, while climate change risk assessment work conducted by Lynker for the State of Colorado and FEMA indicates we will be having longer and harder droughts in Colorado, with profound impacts on sectors of the Colorado economy.

Guaranteed access to clean water is critical in times such as these, where we need it to maintain health services and to sustain our food supply and other sectors of the economy. World Water Day 2020 is Sunday, March 22nd. This year’s theme is Water & Climate Change and how they’re connected. At Lynker our water resource scientists and engineers collaborate closely with our risk assessment and planning team to understand and develop planning tools that help plan for an uncertain future. We are committed to providing data, decision support tools and consulting advice on how local, state and federal agencies can manage this vulnerable resource more effectively and sustainably, now and into the future. In the current coronavirus outbreak situation, Lynker is more committed than ever to our Water Resources Planning mission. Lynker will continue to work hard and adapt to the new circumstances we all find ourselves in to provide our clients the actionable water intelligence they need to make smart decisions while conducting their mission in this ever-changing environment.



Lynker Leads Project Exploring Impacts of Colorado’s Future Floods, Droughts, and Wildfires

Lynker scientists Graeme Aggett & Ryan Spies presented alongside State of Colorado staff on a project Lynker is leading titled “FACE: Hazards” or “Future Avoided Cost Explorer” at the 2020 Colorado Emergency Management Conference in Loveland, CO.

This project explores the impacts of future flood, drought, and wildfire on select sectors of Colorado’s economy. Lynker is working with DHSEM, CWCB, DOLA, and FEMA Region VIII to develop an analysis and visualization tool to help local officials recognize and adapt to these three major hazards facing Colorado.

Lynker Wins NOAA ProTech Weather Contract!

Lynker is proud to be a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Professional and Technical Services (ProTech) Weather Domain contract awardee. We now hold the ProTech Weather, ProTech Oceans, and ProTech Fish multiple award task order contracts.

Lynker staffs NOAA Booth at Largest US In-Water Boat Show

Lynker Employees Joe Linza, Katie Fitzenreiter, and Sam DeBow (L-R) at the 2019 Annapolis Boat Show

Lynker President Joe Linza stopped in to see Lynker employees RADM Sam De Bow (VP) and Katie Fitzenreiter (Oceanographic Data Specialist) who were helping staff the NOAA booth supporting The Office of Coast Survey (OCS) and the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (COOPS) at the October 2019 Annapolis, MD Powerboat and Sailboat Shows.  These are the Nation’s Largest In-Water Boat Shows.  Lynker interacted with the recreational mariner community and answered technical questions about charting and tide products.  High praise was received for the work NOAA does to promote the safety of navigation.





There were significant high tides over the weekend and a tropical storm offshore, which pushed water up the Chesapeake Bay, resulting in a lot of people with soggy shoes and wet pant legs asking questions about the tides. The chart below displays the predicted tide (shown in blue) against the measured tides (shown in green).

Data courtesy of NOAA/NOS/COOPS



Lynker Attends First Annual Nic ECO at Duke!

Lynker HR attended Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment first annual Nic ECO (Explore Career Options) event last week. We met a lot of talented students interested in a career in the environmental field. We identified exciting potential candidates that Lynker is looking for to fill internships and full-time openings in the future.


NOAA Fisheries’ ESA & MMPA Programs Receives Award

The US Secretary of Commerce recognized NOAA Fisheries’ ESA and MMPA programs with a Gold Medal Award for their contribution to regulatory efficiencies and effectiveness in protecting and sustaining at-risk marine and ocean living resources. The Department of Commerce Gold Medal is the highest honor award of the United States Department of Commerce.  Since 1949, the Gold Medal is presented by the Secretary of Commerce for distinguished performance. Particularly noted, Lynker’s Dean-Lorenz Szumylo spearheaded the implementation of the ESA Section 7 Mapper, an interactive, GIS-driven visualization tool NOAA scientists, federal action agencies, and the general public use to help identify ESA-listed species and critical habitats along the East Coast.  Dean was previously awarded NMFS Team Member of the Year for his efforts regarding this tool.

The innovative Mapper tool provides a dynamic web interface used to locate areas where Section 7 Consultations are recommended due to the presence of ESA-listed fish, marine mammals, or sea turtles at various life stages, exhibiting specific behaviors (such as migrating, foraging, spawning, rearing, or calving). The Mapper currently covers consultation areas along major waterways and marine zones of the Greater Atlantic Region and is expanding to include the South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico later this year. The tool allows users to draw a project site on a map, determine which consultation areas overlap, and generate a detailed report of ESA species found there. In addition to greatly expediting the process of determining whether further consultation with NOAA Fisheries is necessary, the tool has reduced the number of unnecessary consultation requests received and has improved the quality, accuracy, and reliability of data needed to support regulatory compliance.

Version 2 is now out and represents a major update to the underlying Section 7 Consultation Area data. In the new version of the mapper, users now have increased control over the map display.  They can toggle individual data layers on and off, rearrange the drawing order of data layers, and use a new tool that easily allows them to “swipe” away the data to view the underlying basemap.