University of Texas at Austin

“The Texas Instream Flow Program: the science of instream flows.”

April 29, 2016 9:00 AM
Mark Wentzel

Mark Wentzel
Texas Water Development Board

“The Texas Instream Flow Program was created by the Texas legislature in 2001 to determine flows necessary to maintain a sound ecological environment in the state’s rivers and streams.  It is administered jointly be three state agencies: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Texas Water Development Board. 

The basic questions being asked by instream flow studies can be summarized something like this “How much water does a river need to stay ‘healthy?’”  The Texas Instream Flow Program carries out technical studies to assist in answering that question for specific river and stream segments.  Much like human health, river health is complicated and study approaches have been refined over time.  I’ll provide one example of that, showing how instream flow studies have moved from a narrow focus on a single flow that maintains fish habitat to a flow regime that creates, maintains, and supports fish habitat over time.”