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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2008

  • Title: Prospect Hill Hydrological Stations
  • Primary Author: Emery Boose (Harvard Forest)
  • Additional Authors: Betsy Colburn (Harvard Forest); William Sobczak (College of the Holy Cross)
  • Abstract:

    To better understand the critical role of headwater streams and wetlands in our forest ecosystem, long-term measurements were initiated in 2005 on two small watersheds in the Prospect Hill Tract of the Harvard Forest. On Nelson Brook (Millers River watershed), weirs were installed on outlet streams of the Black Gum Swamp, an 11-ha spruce-hemlock wetland (watershed area = 44 ha). On Bigelow Brook (Swift River watershed), pipes were installed to measure flow above (watershed = 24 ha) and below (watershed = 65 ha) the 3-ha shrub-dominated Beaver Swamp. Manual measurements of stream discharge, water temperature, and wetland and ground water levels were started in April 2005. Automated measurements of water level and water temperature at the four stream gages were initiated in December 2007. Comparable measurements in the two large wetlands will begin in spring 2008.

    Preliminary data for 2005-2007 and 15-minute continuous data since 21 Dec 2007 are posted on the Harvard Forest website under project HF070. Online materials include a map showing locations of gages and watershed boundaries, photos and technical details for the stream gages, and additional information on instrumentation, field methods, data collection, and quality control.

    The gauged watersheds, though adjacent and comparable in size, differ significantly in topography, soils, wetlands, stream chemistry, stream biota, land-use history, and forest vegetation, and provide a rare opportunity to study the impacts of these factors on small watershed hydrology and ecology. Future plans include development of a wireless network and cyberinfrastructure tools to integrate these data with ET (evapotranspiration) data from the eddy flux towers and meteorological data from the met station to provide near-real-time estimates of water budgets for these watersheds

  • Research Category: Watershed Ecology