Event Title

Hillslope-Stream Connectivity in Aspen and Conifer Stands in Northern Utah

Presenter Information

Amy Burke

Location

ECC 216

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

4-5-2007 5:40 PM

End Date

4-5-2007 5:45 PM

Description

Mountain headwater catchments in the semi arid intermountain west are important sources of surface water because these high elevations receive more precipitation than neighboring lowlands. The hydrology of these catchments is especially important as the region faces water shortages and conflicts. Conifer encroachment on aspen stands has been noticed across the western US and can result in a decline in water yield. The overall objective of this study is to further our understanding of hillslope-stream connectivity in a headwater catchment of Northern Utah and any possible effects on it by conifer encroachment including a decline in runoff generation. The fundamental unit of watershed science is the hillslope. Therefore understanding processes on the hillslope scale is pertinent to managing valuable water resources. However hillslope hydrology is understudied in the snow-driven, semi-arid west, leaving a gap in our knowledge of how watersheds function. This study will help fill that gap by gathering information on how and when hillslope water connects to stream water. Our specific objectives are (1) to find out if soil moisture shows an organized pattern, in relation to landscape position, surface topography, distribution of vegetation and soil profiles, (2) examine seasonal pattern of hillslope-stream connectivity, (3) find any soil water potential thresholds at which subsurface flow begins, (4) compare subsurface flow between vegetation/soil types. Nests of soil moisture probes have been installed in transects on hillslopes adjacent to a stream in the headwaters of the Ogden River. One transect lies in an aspen dominated stand and the other in a conifer stand. Soil moisture sampling will also be expanded in a grid to capture spatial patterns during the spring snowmelt. These data, along with peak snow accumulation measurements, stream gauging and weather data will provide insight into hillslope processes. A trench will also be dug on each hillslope to quantify subsurface lateral flow leaving the hillslope.

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Apr 5th, 5:40 PM Apr 5th, 5:45 PM

Hillslope-Stream Connectivity in Aspen and Conifer Stands in Northern Utah

ECC 216

Mountain headwater catchments in the semi arid intermountain west are important sources of surface water because these high elevations receive more precipitation than neighboring lowlands. The hydrology of these catchments is especially important as the region faces water shortages and conflicts. Conifer encroachment on aspen stands has been noticed across the western US and can result in a decline in water yield. The overall objective of this study is to further our understanding of hillslope-stream connectivity in a headwater catchment of Northern Utah and any possible effects on it by conifer encroachment including a decline in runoff generation. The fundamental unit of watershed science is the hillslope. Therefore understanding processes on the hillslope scale is pertinent to managing valuable water resources. However hillslope hydrology is understudied in the snow-driven, semi-arid west, leaving a gap in our knowledge of how watersheds function. This study will help fill that gap by gathering information on how and when hillslope water connects to stream water. Our specific objectives are (1) to find out if soil moisture shows an organized pattern, in relation to landscape position, surface topography, distribution of vegetation and soil profiles, (2) examine seasonal pattern of hillslope-stream connectivity, (3) find any soil water potential thresholds at which subsurface flow begins, (4) compare subsurface flow between vegetation/soil types. Nests of soil moisture probes have been installed in transects on hillslopes adjacent to a stream in the headwaters of the Ogden River. One transect lies in an aspen dominated stand and the other in a conifer stand. Soil moisture sampling will also be expanded in a grid to capture spatial patterns during the spring snowmelt. These data, along with peak snow accumulation measurements, stream gauging and weather data will provide insight into hillslope processes. A trench will also be dug on each hillslope to quantify subsurface lateral flow leaving the hillslope.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2007/AllPosters/17