MIKE SHE ECOLAB – contributing to better management of freshwater ecosystems

07 Mar 2013  

As part of the Riskpoint research project, we recently developed a new tool – MIKE SHE ECOLAB for Silver Creek, Idaho. This was done by incorporating the generic ecological modelling tool – ECO LAB – in the MIKE SHE modelling framework. This tool contributes significantly by:

  • Making different options available to protect fresh water ecosystems
  • Empowering managers to choose the most suitable strategy for remediation
  • Enabling a holistic approach to meet regulatory standards

Silver Creek, a river located in central Idaho, has a high density of trout. Remaining unaffected by harsh winters, this spring-fed river is an angler’s paradise. However, various factors including high temperatures, intense fishing pressure and low discharges during summer are threatening this fragile aquatic habitat.

By developing the MIKE SHE ECOLAB tool, we represented a range of water quality and ecological processes with respect to the river, surface water, soil and groundwater.

The integrated hydrological and water quality tool developed, allows comprehensive risk assessments and the evaluation of management options for freshwater ecosystems. It simulates hydrological processes, stream temperatures and fish growth. This enables catchment managers and stakeholders to evaluate alternative management strategies on the water balance, temperatures and the fish habitat. They can thus achieve sustainable development while preserving this unique ecosystem. This directly addresses the need of water resource managers – to be able to quantify the changes in ecosystem status caused by changes in catchment management.

The Riskpoint project ( is funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research.

Want to know more ?

Maria Loinaz

Michael Butts