Mapping Inflows, Diversions, and Vegetation Along the Lower Bear River Basin

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

David Rosenberg


The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Utah State University (USU), through a National Science Foundation project, has partnered with the Outdoor Recreation, and Parks and Recreation programs at USU to offer the Bear River Fellows Program - a unique river-based experiential learning opportunity for 6 freshmen Fellows to receive first-hand experience in collecting, synthesizing and analyzing environmental and ecological data. Part of these objectives included observing plant composition over time as well as measuring inflows to and diversions from the river. We collected field measurements such as flow measurements and channel cross section topology and examined environmental and ecological variables from three different sites along the Lower Bear River between the Idaho-Utah state line and Cutler dam on August 13th - 16th, 2013 and additional data was collected on multiple river trips. While traveling from site to site, we were also able to observe riparian vegetation, beaver activity, and human-caused inflows and diversions. In order to organize, analyze, and graphically communicate data, maps were created through a mapping program entitled ArcGIS by plotting locations of diverse species of riparian vegetation, locations of beaver activity, and observed versus actual human-caused inflows and diversions and color coordinating each species to highlight trends in the topographical depiction. Through our collection of vegetation samples and locations, we are able to conclude the trends and specific locations of plant species, such as phragmities, that grow in specific areas along the Bear River, along with a comparison of the inflows and diversions from last year, this year, and other documented sources.

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