From– Rivers in California once swelled and ebbed as the seasons changed and as wet years gave way to dry ones. Salmon and other now-imperiled aquatic species depended on these historic patterns. But today dams and diversions have altered most of the state’s waterways, leaving their natural flows a mystery. “Natural flows have been a longstanding question in water management, especially for fish,” says Kirk Klausmeyer, who directs data science for The Nature Conservancy in California. “To restore stream habitats, we need to try and replicate natural flows—but we don’t have the data.” Only about 10% of California’s rivers have stream gauges. Luckily, though, a few rivers both have gauges and are still essentially free flowing. Data from this handful of rivers can be used to predict the natural flows in altered streams had they been left untouched. But people crunch these numbers quite slowly. A type of artificial intelligence called machine learning can predict natural flows much faster―and more accurately. (more)