Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Ann Maclean

Advisor 2

Alex Mayer

Committee Member 1

David Watkins

Committee Member 2

Joseph Wagenbrenner


Anthropocentric water resources management affects aquatic habitats by changing streamflow regime. Understanding the impacts of water withdrawal from different sources and consumption by various economic sectors at different spatial and temporal scales is key to characterizing ecologically harmful streamflow disturbances. To this end, we developed a generic, integrative framework to characterize catchment scale water stress at annual and monthly time scales. The framework accounts for spatially cumulative consumptive and non-consumptive use impacts and associated changes in flow due to depletion and return flow along the stream network. Application of the framework to the U.S. Great Lakes Region indicates that a significant number of catchments experience negative water stress due to stream flow depletion caused by surface water and shallow groundwater withdrawals. In many other catchments, however, return flow from deep groundwater withdrawals compensates for the streamflow depletion to the extent that positive water stress is likely. Results illustrate the importance of using appropriate spatial and temporal scales to evaluate water stress, demonstrating that coarse temporal (i.e., annual vs. monthly) and spatial scales reduce the ability to detect water stress due to water withdrawals in vulnerable catchments in low-flow months.