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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: 45 years of climate and hydrologic research conducted at the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed

Authors
item Flerchinger, Gerald
item Marks, Daniel
item Seyfried, Mark
item Pierson, Frederick
item Nayak, Anurag - UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
item Hardegree, Stuart
item Winstral, Adam
item Clark, Patrick

Submitted to: Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 11, 2007
Publication Date: May 15, 2007
Citation: Flerchinger, G.N., Marks, D.G., Seyfried, M.S., Pierson Jr, F.B., Nayak, A., Hardegree, S.P., Winstral, A.H., and Clark, P. 2007. 45 years of climate and hydrologic research conducted at the reynolds creek experimental watershed. pp 135-143. In: J.R. Rogers (ed.), Environmental and Water Resources: Milestones in Engineering History. Sponsored by ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) National History & Heritage Committee. American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, VA. 168p.

Interpretive Summary: The Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed was established over 40 years ago to conduct research and collect data to address critical water issues on western rangelands. Research focus on the watershed has changed over the past 40 years, starting initially with monitoring and describing hydrologic processes and migrating toward development of computer-based tools to address critical water supply, water quality and rangeland management problems. Data quality at the watershed has improved greatly with improved instrumentation but the type of data collected has also changed to meet new research needs. The combination of the long historic records, current data collection and support staff make RCEW a unique "outdoor laboratory" to address critical natural resource questions.

Technical Abstract: One of the primary components of effective watershed research is a sustained, long-term monitoring and measurement program. Such an effort was undertaken when the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) was added to the USDA Agricultural Research Service watershed program in 1960. The vision for RCEW, a 239 km2 drainage in the Owyhee Mountains near Boise, Idaho, was an outdoor hydrologic laboratory in which watershed research would be supported by sustained, long-term monitoring of basic hydro-climatic parameters. Research focus on the watershed has changed over the past 40 years, starting initially with monitoring and describing hydrologic processes and migrating toward development of computed-based tools to address critical water supply, water quality and rangeland management problems. Data quality at the watershed has improved greatly with improved instrumentation but the type of data collected has also changed to meet new research needs. Data collected over the past 40 years suggest that there is a trend toward warmer springtime temperatures and that snowmelt runoff is occurring earlier in the year than it has historically. Data analysis suggests that more of the annual streamflow is occurring earlier in the year and less during the summer months. The combination of the long historic records, current data collection and support staff make RCEW a unique "outdoor laboratory" to address critical natural resource questions.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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