Freshwater Inflows Tool (FIT)
A web-based tool supporting healthier estuaries.
FIT, which is available free online at FreshwaterInflow.org, is a web-based tool created to support coastal management decisions by providing the best-available science on freshwater inflows, the flowing water from rivers and streams necessary to sustain healthy estuaries.
The main driver for FIT is to provide science-based information to policy makers, managers, and stakeholders. FIT accomplishes this through the use of ecosystem-based management research strategies and web-based technology that provides users information on freshwater inflows into estuaries.
Estuaries are important transitional zones where freshwater and marine water meet and mix. This freshwater is referred to as freshwater inflows. Estuaries are the link between streams and rivers to the sea. The freshwater inflows provide nutrients, sediments, and regulate the salinity levels. An estuary cannot properly function without freshwater inflows from the rivers and streams. Global changes cause mainly by anthropogenic influences is altering the amount of freshwater inflows to estuaries. Humans are diverting water from rivers and streams. As the human population grows and the strain on water resources continues, the ability to effectively manage freshwater inflows into estuaries is because increasingly important.
Effective estuarine ecosystem based management strategies require a broad approach to analyzing information and making management decisions. Integration of this broad range of data, information, human components, and technology into useful management tools will create effective strategies for managing freshwater inflows and protecting estuarine habitats.
- Aid in providing the information needed to create freshwater flow standards for a particular area to managers
- Integrate long-term data sets on climate, freshwater inflows, nutrients, sediments, and biological components
- Provide methodologies for assessing estuarine health
- Increase stakeholder engagement
- Provide repeatable studies to create homogeneity in sampling methods