Changes to summer low flows from forest harvesting were measured for a gauged fourth-order stream in the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study. At the gauged stream, August streamflow increased an average of 1.9 mm/year (45%) for the three summers following forest harvest of 13% of a 1,084 ha watershed. Following a second harvest of an additional 13% of the watershed the August streamflow increased by 4.5 mm (106%) the first summer and 2.0 mm (47%) the second summer. Master recession curves were fit to the gauged watersheds and the resulting recession coefficients were used to predict low flows from small watersheds nested within the gauged watersheds. The estimated low flows were used to evaluate changes in summer low flows associated with forest harvest for the small watersheds. Using recession curve analysis, the estimated range of the increase for average August streamflow for the four small watersheds in the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study was 1.7 mm to 4.4 mm the first summer following forest harvest. August streamflow in the small watersheds was not distinguishable from preharvest levels within 5 years for all but one watershed, which had the highest proportion of watershed area harvested.
Autoregressive process pHydrological data may be temporally autocorrelated requiring autoregressive process parameters to be estimated. Current statistical methods for hydrological change detection in paired watershed studies rely on prediction intervals, but the current form of prediction intervals does not include all appropriate sources of variation. Corrected prediction intervals for the analysis of paired watershed study data that include variation associated with covariance and linear model parameter estimation are presented. We provide an example of their application to data from the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study located in the western Cascade foothills of Southern Oregon, USA. Research implications of using the correct prediction limits and incorporating the estimation uncertainty of aarameters are discussed.
The increased demand for wood and fiber from a continually shrinking land base has resulted in the use of intensively managed forest plantations. Because much of the water flowing in rivers in the U.S. originates as precipitation in forests, there is a justified concern about the impacts of forest management on water quality. Nutrient concentrations were measured in eight streams from October 2002 to September 2011 to assess nutrient response to contemporary forest practices at the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study in the Oregon Cascades. This period of time included a two-year pre-treatment calibration between control and treatment watersheds, a fertilization treatment of both basins in October 2004, and a post-treatment period from 2005 to 2011. Stream water samples were analyzed for nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfate, chloride, and silicon as well as specific conductance, pH, and alkalinity. All treatment watersheds showed a statistically significant increase in NO3 + NO2 concentrations after clearcutting (p < 0.001). The slope of the streambed through the disturbance was a stronger predictor of the magnitude of the response than was the magnitude of disturbance. Concentrations of NO3 + NO2 observed during the calibration period were similar to concentrations observed in an old-growth forest in the H.J. Andrews, suggesting that nutrient processing within the Hinkle Creek watershed had returned to levels that existed prior.
This dissertation integrates a process-based hydrological investigation with an ongoing paired-catchment study to better understand how forest harvest impacts catchment function at multiple scales. This is done by addressing fundamental questions related to the stocks, flows and transit times of water. Isotope tracers are used within a top-down catchment intercomparison framework to investigate the role of geology in controlling streamwater mean transit time and their scaling relationships with the surrounding landscape. We found that streams draining catchments with permeable bedrock geology at the Drift Creek watershed in the Oregon Coast Range had longer mean transit times than catchments with poorly permeable bedrock at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades. We also found that differences in permeability contrasts within the subsurface controlled whether mean transit time scaled with indices of catchment topography (for the poorly permeable bedrock) or with catchment area (for the permeable bedrock). We then investigated the process-reasons for the observed differences in mean transit time ranges and scaling behavior using a detailed, bottom-up approach to characterize subsurface water stores and fluxes.
In the Pacific Northwest ecoregion of North America, sculpins represent a major constituent of freshwater assemblages in coastal rivers. Little is known of their interactions with co-occurring species, such as widely studied salmon and trout (salmonines). In this study, I evaluated inter- and intraspecific interactions involving cottids (Cottus sp.) and coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii). I used a response surface experimental design to independently evaluate effects of cutthroat trout and sculpin biomass on growth and behavior. There was evidence of both intra- and interspecific interactions between cutthroat trout and sculpins, but the interactions were asymmetrical with biomass of cutthroat trout driving both intra- and interspecific interactions, whereas sculpins had little influence overall. Cutthroat trout biomass was positively related to conspecific aggressive interactions and negatively related to growth. Sculpin exhibited increased use of cover during the day in response to greater biomass of cutthroat trout, but not sculpin biomass. Nocturnal use of cover by sculpins was unaffected by biomass of either species. This experiment provides insights into the species interactions and the mechanisms that may allow sculpins and salmonines to coexist in nature. As cutthroat trout appear to be superior competitors, coexistence between sculpins and cutthroat trout may depend on some form of refuge.
Stream temperature research relies on reference frames in which to project data. An important decision in the project design is which frame of reference to use. This aspect of research planning is not always given the consideration of thought that would lead to the best decision. In this thesis, two frames of references (Eulerian and Lagrangian) are compared in order to garner a better understanding of whether the choice of one reference frame over the other leads to a difference in the interpretation of the stream temperature data. The Eulerian and Lagrangian reference frames were compared through a series of graphs in which the data was projected on both reference frames. In two dimensions of space and temperature, the interpretation between the Eulerian and Lagrangian reference frames are fairly similar. When the third dimension of time was graphed alongside temperature and space, the interpretations of the data differed between reference frames. All three dimensions should be considered when choosing a reference frame for research projects. The appropriate reference frame to use depends on the statements that need to be made about the data at the conclusion of the study.
In the Pacific Northwest, previous studies have found a negative effect of timber management on the abundance of stream amphibians, but results have been variable and region specific. These studies have generally used survey methods that did not account for differences in capture probability and focused on stands that were harvested under older management practices. We examined the influences of contemporary forest practices on larval Dicamptodon tenebrosus as part of the Hinkle Creek paired watershed study. We used a mark–recapture analysis to estimate D. tenebrosus density at 100 1-m sites spread throughout the basin and used extended linear models that accounted for correlation resulting from the repeated surveys at sites across years. Density was associated with substrate, but we found no evidence of an effect of harvest. While holding other factors constant, the model-averaged estimates indicated; 1) each 10% increase in small cobble or larger substrate increased median density of D. tenebrosus 1.05 times, 2) each 100-ha increase in the upstream area drained decreased median density of D. tenebrosus 0.96 times, and 3) increasing the fish density in the 40 m around a site by 0.01 increased median salamander density 1.01 times. Although this study took place in a single basin, it suggests that timber management in similar third-order basins of the southwestern Oregon Cascade foothills is unlikely to have short-term effects of D. tenebrosus larvae.
In this experimental study, we examined how small increases in summer water temperatures affected aquatic insect growth and autumn emergence. We maintained naturally fluctuating temperatures from 2 nearby streams and a 3rd regime, naturally fluctuating temperatures warmed by 3–5 degrees Celsius, in flow-through troughs from mid-summer until autumn. We added selected abundant Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera species to the 3 treatments in late July and observed emergence until early December. We described the taxon-specific responses of the caddisfly Psychoglypha bella and the mayfly Paraleptophlebia bicornuta, both of which survived well in the troughs (67–86%), and the stonefly Mesocapnia projecta, which we did not collect in mid-summer but had colonized all experimental troughs by October. We observed primarily phenological rather than morphological responses to higher water temperatures. The most synchronous emergence of male and female P. bella and P. bicornuta occurred in the trough with the coolest temperatures. Only P. bella emerged asynchronously from the trough with the warmest temperatures. The decreases in synchrony were largely the result of earlier emergence of males. Paraleptophlebia bicornuta were larger and tended towards asynchrony in the trough with water (and temperatures) from their natal stream. Individuals in the trough with the warmest temperature were smaller than individuals in other troughs, but did not but did not emerge earlier.
Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags have desirable qualities (e.g., unique identification, indefinite tag life, and capacity for remote detection) that make them useful for evaluating survival, growth, and movement of fish, but low tag retention rates can confound data interpretation. Although the effects of PIT tags on short-term growth and survival have been minimal and tag retention rates in laboratory and field studies using only juvenile individuals have been high, tag retention rates for fish at different ontological stages (including reproductively active males and females) remain unknown. We evaluated tag retention rates in wild populations of coastal cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii in three catchments of western Oregon using a double-marking approach (i.e., the adipose fin was removed from all fish that were PIT-tagged). Tags were inserted into the body cavities of fish 100 mm or more in length (fork length; range¼100–250 mm). In the study catchments, this size range includes both juvenile and mature fish. Tag retention rates were approximately 25% lower than those reported by previous studies of juvenile salmonids alone. A number of PIT tags were recovered in redds, indicating that mature individuals eject tags during spawning. Although some coastal cutthroat trout retained PIT tags for up to 4 years, others expelled them repeatedly and were implanted with a minimum of three different PIT tags during the same period.
Spatial autocorrelation is common in data collected for ecological studies, and the use of statistical models for spatial autocorrelation has evolved. Initially, these models were used to improve linear model parameter estimation uncertainty, but more recently ecologists have considered spatial autocorrelation as a valuable tool for describing ecological patterns. The structure and water-driven continuity of stream-networks makes these landscapes unique, and has prompted development of new models for describing spatial autocorrelation within these networks. We evaluate the spatial autocorrelation detection and parameter estimation of four sampling protocols applied to complete censuses of coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) habitat unit fish counts. We consider two cluster- and two non cluster-based sampling protocols. Spatially distributed clusters were the most apt to contain spatial autocorrelation. Spatial autocorrelation detection was also associated with headwater basin attributes. Differences among sampling protocols in regards to autocorrelation parameter estimation were less distinct.