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Special Issue "Ecological Watershed Management"

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A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Keith Smettem (Website)

School of Environmental Systems Engineering, The University of Western Australia (M015), 35 Stirling Highway, CRAWLEY WA 6009, Australia
Interests: water and chemical transport processes; riparian zones; ecohydrology; runoff and land use change; ecological watershed response to climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades watershed management has seen a paradigm shift from predominantly supply-based considerations of water quantity and quality to broader considerations of the ecological services provided by watersheds and a more holistic perspective interested in understanding and managing feedbacks between hydrological and ecological processes. In addition, attempts have been made to value multiple environmental services that arise from changes in watershed management.

Land use and climate change exert significant impacts on the ecology and hydrology of watersheds. The signals can be reinforcing (increased runoff from deforestation in a wetting climate) or opposing (decreasing runoff in a drying climate), depending on location. We have also entered a period where the stationarity of climate cannot be assumed and where there is evidence of increasing fluctuation between extremes.

We seek to understand how to observe and account for these processes in the ecological management of watersheds for the benefit of future generations and so this issue brings together both theoretical and applied studies on watershed eco-hydrological responses to land use and climate change.

Prof. Dr. Keith Smettem
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • water and chemical transport processes
  • riparian zones
  • ecohydrology
  • runoff and land use change
  • ecological watershed response to climate change

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Impact of Forest Cover and Aridity on the Interplay between Effective Rooting Depth and Annual Runoff in South-West Western Australia
Water 2014, 6(9), 2539-2551; doi:10.3390/w6092539
Received: 18 February 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
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Abstract
Variants of the Budkyo hydrological model describe the effects of land use change on annual water yield. A recent modification using a simple process-based ecohydrological model provides insight into the partitioning of rainfall between runoff and evapotranspiration. In particular, the ‘effective vegetation [...] Read more.
Variants of the Budkyo hydrological model describe the effects of land use change on annual water yield. A recent modification using a simple process-based ecohydrological model provides insight into the partitioning of rainfall between runoff and evapotranspiration. In particular, the ‘effective vegetation rooting depth’ becomes the single free parameter in the model and can be related to land use and climate. We applied this approach to investigate the relations between mean annual runoff from 2000 to 2011, catchment average effective rooting depth and the proportion of forest cover across eleven catchments in South-west Western Australia. The proportion of forested and cleared land was partitioned using MODIS minimum annual average LAI values from 1 km2 pixels over 2000–2011, with forest clearing ranging from 1% to 98% across the 11 catchments. Estimated mean annual runoff using catchment averaged effective rooting depths for forest and cleared (grassland) land obtained using an independent physiologically-based model gave better estimates than a widely used ‘default’ Budkyo-based model. If effective rooting depth declines with aridity, as described by the model then runoff decline may be considerably less (about 50%) than predicted if the effective root depth remains unchanged (70%–92% decline). This highlights the importance of understanding ecohydrological feedbacks between vegetation and climate in projecting scenarios of water yield response to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Impacts of Hydrologic Change on Sandbar Nesting Availability for Riverine Turtles in Eastern Minnesota, USA
Water 2013, 5(3), 1243-1261; doi:10.3390/w5031243
Received: 12 June 2013 / Revised: 16 August 2013 / Accepted: 20 August 2013 / Published: 28 August 2013
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Abstract
There have been significant increases in stream flow in many rivers of the Upper Midwestern United States since 1980. Increased summer flows may negatively impact ecological processes, including aquatic organisms’ life cycles. The smooth softshell (Apalone mutica) and wood turtle [...] Read more.
There have been significant increases in stream flow in many rivers of the Upper Midwestern United States since 1980. Increased summer flows may negatively impact ecological processes, including aquatic organisms’ life cycles. The smooth softshell (Apalone mutica) and wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) are threatened by alteration of stream flow regime and other changes to river ecosystems in the Upper Midwest. We hypothesized that prolonged duration of high summer flows would reduce time available for nesting. We assessed hydrologic change using the Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration program and stream gauge data, characterized physical properties of sandbars, surveyed turtle nesting sites and assessed historical channel change using aerial photos in GIS on five Upper Midwest rivers. A river stage-sandbar area relationship was developed to determine the effect of prolonged summer flow duration on turtle nesting opportunity for the 1940–2009 time period. Suitable water levels have declined since 1980 in the agricultural watersheds of southern Minnesota likely delaying hatching and reducing survival, particularly for aquatic turtles such as A. mutica. In contrast to the agricultural watersheds, there was no significant change in the northern forested rivers’ stream flow and sandbar availability during the nesting season. Management to reduce summer stream flow in agricultural watersheds and protection of known nest sites could benefit threatened aquatic turtle populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Spatial Heterogeneity of Soil Moisture and the Scale Variability of Its Influencing Factors: A Case Study in the Loess Plateau of China
Water 2013, 5(3), 1226-1242; doi:10.3390/w5031226
Received: 20 May 2013 / Revised: 20 July 2013 / Accepted: 2 August 2013 / Published: 16 August 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil moisture is an important factor for vegetation restoration and ecosystem sustainability in the Loess Plateau of China. The strong spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture is controlled by many environmental factors, including topography and land use. Moreover, the spatial patterns and soil [...] Read more.
Soil moisture is an important factor for vegetation restoration and ecosystem sustainability in the Loess Plateau of China. The strong spatial heterogeneity of soil moisture is controlled by many environmental factors, including topography and land use. Moreover, the spatial patterns and soil hydrological processes depend on the scale of the site being investigated, which creates a challenge for soil moisture forecasts. This study was conducted at two scales: watershed and small watershed. The goal of the study was to investigate the spatial variability in soil moisture and the scale effect of its controlling factors, as well as to provide references for soil moisture forecasting and studies of scale transformation. We took samples at 76 sites in the Ansai watershed and at 34 sites in a typical small watershed within the Ansai watershed in August. Next, we measured the soil moisture in five equal layers from a depth of 0–100 cm and recorded the land use type, location on the hill slope, slope, aspect, elevation and vegetation cover at the sampling sites. The results indicated that soil moisture was negatively correlated with relative elevation, slope and vegetation cover. As depth increased, the correlations among slope, aspect and soil moisture increased. At the small watershed and watershed scales, the soil moisture was highest in cultivated land, followed by wild grassland and lowest in garden plots, woodland and shrubland. The soil moisture was distributed similarly with respect to the location on the hill slope at both scales: upper slope < middle-upper slope < middle slope < middle-lower slope < lower slope. The deep layer soil moisture value of the slope top was high, being close to the soil moisture in the lower slope. Therefore, wild grassland or low-density woodland should be prioritized for farmland recovery in the Ansai watershed, and the locations on the hill slope, slope and elevation should be combined to configure different mosaic patterns. For example, low-density woodland or wild grassland would be appropriate for sites with low soil moisture content, such as upper slope, high elevation and steep slope sites. A stepwise regression analysis indicated that the dominant factor controlling the spatial variability of soil moisture values varied at different scales. At the small watershed scale, the order of significance for the influence of environmental factors on soil moisture values was as follows: land use type, slope, relative elevation and vegetation cover. The order of significance at the watershed scale was also determined: location on the hill slope, vegetation cover, slope, relative elevation and sine of the aspect. This result indicated that the influence of different environmental factors on soil moisture variability was dependent on the scale. The forecasting capability of regression models for soil moisture decreases from the small watershed scale to the watershed scale. This study could provide a reference for relevant scale transformation studies and offer guidance for water resource management and vegetation restoration approaches on the Loess Plateau. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Past, Present, and Future Nutrient Quality of a Small Southeastern River: A Pre-Dam Assessment
Water 2013, 5(3), 988-1005; doi:10.3390/w5030988
Received: 21 April 2013 / Revised: 14 June 2013 / Accepted: 27 June 2013 / Published: 8 July 2013
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Abstract
Riverine dams alter both the physical environment and water chemistry, thus affecting species assemblages within these environments. In the United States, dam construction is on the decline and there is a growing trend for dam removal. The Choctawhatchee, Pea, and Yellow Rivers [...] Read more.
Riverine dams alter both the physical environment and water chemistry, thus affecting species assemblages within these environments. In the United States, dam construction is on the decline and there is a growing trend for dam removal. The Choctawhatchee, Pea, and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority had initiated the permitting process for placing a reservoir dam on the Little Choctawhatchee River (LCR), a tributary to the Choctawhatchee River. The purpose of the proposed reservoir was water supply, and while the permit application has been suspended, history shows that this or related projects are likely to arise in the future. This study collected data on nutrient quality seasonally (four times) from 12 sites in the LCR watershed from October 2007 to June 2008 in order to determine pre-dam conditions and to compare these data to historical and regional information. Historical and current nutrient concentrations were elevated throughout the watershed, in most cases above suggested criteria, and indicated that water quality of the river was and continues to be nutrient rich. A future reservoir at recent levels of water quality will likely be highly eutrophic, and anthropogenic influences will further stress this ecosystem and its water quality as the urban region expands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
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Open AccessArticle Real-Time Forecast of Hydrologically Sensitive Areas in the Salmon Creek Watershed, New York State, Using an Online Prediction Tool
Water 2013, 5(3), 917-944; doi:10.3390/w5030917
Received: 23 April 2013 / Revised: 20 June 2013 / Accepted: 20 June 2013 / Published: 2 July 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2158 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the northeastern United States (U.S.), watersheds and ecosystems are impacted by nonpoint source pollution (NPS) from agricultural activity. Where agricultural fields coincide with runoff-producing areas—so called hydrologically sensitive areas (HSA)—there is a potential risk of NPS contaminant transport to streams during [...] Read more.
In the northeastern United States (U.S.), watersheds and ecosystems are impacted by nonpoint source pollution (NPS) from agricultural activity. Where agricultural fields coincide with runoff-producing areas—so called hydrologically sensitive areas (HSA)—there is a potential risk of NPS contaminant transport to streams during rainfall events. Although improvements have been made, water management practices implemented to reduce NPS pollution generally do not account for the highly variable, spatiotemporal dynamics of HSAs and the associated dynamics in NPS pollution risks. This paper presents a prototype for a web-based HSA prediction tool developed for the Salmon Creek watershed in upstate New York to assist producers and planners in quickly identifying areas at high risk of generating storm runoff. These predictions can be used to prioritize potentially polluting activities to parts of the landscape with low risks of generating storm runoff. The tool uses real-time measured data and 24–48 h weather forecasts so that locations and the timing of storm runoff generation are accurately predicted based on present-day and future moisture conditions. Analysis of HSA predictions in Salmon Creek show that 71% of the largest storm events between 2006 and 2009 were correctly predicted based on 48 h forecasted weather data. Real-time forecast of HSAs represents an important paradigm shift for the management of NPS in the northeastern U.S. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Watershed-Wildfire Risks on National Forest System Lands in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States
Water 2013, 5(3), 945-971; doi:10.3390/w5030945
Received: 12 April 2013 / Revised: 18 June 2013 / Accepted: 20 June 2013 / Published: 2 July 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (4265 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wildfires can cause significant negative impacts to water quality with resultant consequences for the environment and human health and safety, as well as incurring substantial rehabilitation and water treatment costs. In this paper we will illustrate how state-of-the-art wildfire simulation modeling and [...] Read more.
Wildfires can cause significant negative impacts to water quality with resultant consequences for the environment and human health and safety, as well as incurring substantial rehabilitation and water treatment costs. In this paper we will illustrate how state-of-the-art wildfire simulation modeling and geospatial risk assessment methods can be brought to bear to identify and prioritize at-risk watersheds for risk mitigation treatments, in both pre-fire and post-fire planning contexts. Risk assessment results can be particularly useful for prioritizing management of hazardous fuels to lessen the severity and likely impacts of future wildfires, where budgetary and other constraints limit the amount of area that can be treated. Specifically we generate spatially resolved estimates of wildfire likelihood and intensity, and couple that information with spatial data on watershed location and watershed erosion potential to quantify watershed exposure and risk. For a case study location we focus on National Forest System lands in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States. The Region houses numerous watersheds that are critically important to drinking water supplies and that have been impacted or threatened by large wildfires in recent years. Assessment results are the culmination of a broader multi-year science-management partnership intended to have direct bearing on wildfire management decision processes in the Region. Our results suggest substantial variation in the exposure of and likely effects to highly valued watersheds throughout the Region, which carry significant implications for prioritization. In particular we identified the San Juan National Forest as having the highest concentration of at-risk highly valued watersheds, as well as the greatest amount of risk that can be mitigated via hazardous fuel reduction treatments. To conclude we describe future opportunities and challenges for management of wildfire-watershed interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Framing Scenarios of Binational Water Policy with a Tool to Visualize, Quantify and Valuate Changes in Ecosystem Services
Water 2013, 5(3), 852-874; doi:10.3390/w5030852
Received: 10 April 2013 / Revised: 1 June 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 28 June 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2742 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the Santa Cruz Watershed, located on the Arizona-Sonora portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, an international wastewater treatment plant treats wastewater from cities on both sides of the border, before discharging it into the river in Arizona. These artificial flows often subsidize [...] Read more.
In the Santa Cruz Watershed, located on the Arizona-Sonora portion of the U.S.-Mexico border, an international wastewater treatment plant treats wastewater from cities on both sides of the border, before discharging it into the river in Arizona. These artificial flows often subsidize important perennial surface water ecosystems in the region. An explicit understanding of the benefits of maintaining instream flow for present and future generations requires the ability to assess and understand the important trade-offs implicit in water-resource management decisions. In this paper, we outline an approach for modeling and visualizing impacts of management decisions in terms of rare terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, vegetation, surface water, groundwater recharge, real-estate values and socio-environmental vulnerable communities. We identify and quantify ecosystem services and model the potential reduction in effluent discharge to the U.S. that is under scrutiny by binational water policy makers and of concern to stakeholders. Results of service provisioning are presented, and implications for policy makers and resource managers are discussed. This paper presents a robust ecosystem services assessment of multiple scenarios of watershed management as a means to discern eco-hydrological responses and consider their potential values for future generations living in the borderlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of “Man-Made Hydrological Drought” on Plant Species Abundance in the Low-Flow Channel Downstream from the Matawin Dam, Quebec
Water 2013, 5(3), 875-892; doi:10.3390/w5030875
Received: 1 May 2013 / Revised: 13 June 2013 / Accepted: 14 June 2013 / Published: 28 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (914 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The interannual variability of streamflow affects the composition and species richness of vegetation in low-flow channels and alluvial plains. Although climate conditions in 2003 and 2004 were nearly identical, large differences in streamflow were observed downstream from the Matawin dam. These differences [...] Read more.
The interannual variability of streamflow affects the composition and species richness of vegetation in low-flow channels and alluvial plains. Although climate conditions in 2003 and 2004 were nearly identical, large differences in streamflow were observed downstream from the Matawin dam. These differences resulted in numerous days without flow (no water release) during the growing period (May to August) in 2003, leading to man-made hydrological drought. While this drought had no effect on abiotic variables (grain-size distribution and nutrient concentrations in sediments), a significant decrease in the number of terrestrial species was observed in 2004 (year without drought) relative to 2003 (drought year) on three sand bars studied. This decrease is interpreted to result from prolonged submergence of the sites in 2004. Principal component analysis highlighted the effect of individual sites (first principal component) and of the interannual variability of streamflow (second component) on the number of species. The study suggests that, from a flow management standpoint, it is advisable to release enough water downstream from the dam during the growing season to prevent low-flow channel colonization by invasive terrestrial species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle On the Vulnerability of Water Limited Ecosystems to Climate Change
Water 2013, 5(2), 819-833; doi:10.3390/w5020819
Received: 25 April 2013 / Revised: 6 June 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1258 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Society is facing growing environmental problems that require new research efforts to understand the way ecosystems operate and survive, and their mutual relationships with the hydrologic cycle. In this respect, ecohydrology suggests a renewed interdisciplinary approach that aims to provide a better [...] Read more.
Society is facing growing environmental problems that require new research efforts to understand the way ecosystems operate and survive, and their mutual relationships with the hydrologic cycle. In this respect, ecohydrology suggests a renewed interdisciplinary approach that aims to provide a better comprehension of the effects of climatic changes on terrestrial ecosystems. With this aim, a coupled hydrological/ecological model is adopted to describe simultaneously vegetation pattern evolution and hydrological water budget at the basin scale using as test site the Upper Rio Salado basin (Sevilleta, NM, USA). The hydrological analyses have been carried out using a recently formulated framework for the water balance at the daily level linked with a spatial model for the description of the spatial organization of vegetation. This enables quantitatively assessing the effects on soil water availability on future climatic scenarios. Results highlighted that the relationship between climatic forcing (water availability) and vegetation patterns is strongly non-linear. This implies, under some specific conditions which depend on the ecosystem characteristics, small changes in climatic conditions may produce significant transformation of the vegetation patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Science to Support Management of Receiving Waters in an Event-Driven Ecosystem: From Land to River to Sea
Water 2013, 5(2), 780-797; doi:10.3390/w5020780
Received: 15 April 2013 / Revised: 27 May 2013 / Accepted: 6 June 2013 / Published: 19 June 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Managing receiving-water quality, ecosystem health and ecosystem service delivery is challenging in regions where extreme rainfall and runoff events occur episodically, confounding and often intensifying land-degradation impacts. We synthesize the approaches used in river, reservoir and coastal water management in the event-driven [...] Read more.
Managing receiving-water quality, ecosystem health and ecosystem service delivery is challenging in regions where extreme rainfall and runoff events occur episodically, confounding and often intensifying land-degradation impacts. We synthesize the approaches used in river, reservoir and coastal water management in the event-driven subtropics of Australia, and the scientific research underpinning them. Land-use change has placed the receiving waters of Moreton Bay, an internationally-significant coastal wetland, at risk of ecological degradation through increased nutrient and sediment loads. The event-driven climate exacerbates this issue, as the waterways and ultimately Moreton Bay receive large inputs of nutrients and sediment during events, well above those received throughout stable climatic periods. Research on the water quality and ecology of the region’s rivers and coastal waters has underpinned the development of a world-renowned monitoring program and, in combination with catchment-source tracing methods and modeling, has revealed the key mechanisms and management strategies by which receiving-water quality, ecosystem health and ecosystem services can be maintained and improved. These approaches provide a useful framework for management of water bodies in other regions driven by episodic events, or where novel stressors are involved (e.g., climate change, urbanization), to support sustained ecosystem service delivery and restoration of aquatic ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Phosphorous in Groundwater in an Alluvial Valley Aquifer: Implications for Best Management Practices
Water 2013, 5(2), 540-559; doi:10.3390/w5020540
Received: 19 February 2013 / Revised: 10 April 2013 / Accepted: 11 April 2013 / Published: 2 May 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2108 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many streams in the US are impaired because of high Soluble Reactive Phosphorous (SRP) contributions from agriculture. However, the drivers of ecological processes that lead to SRP loss in baseflow from groundwater are not sufficiently understood to design effective Best Management Practices [...] Read more.
Many streams in the US are impaired because of high Soluble Reactive Phosphorous (SRP) contributions from agriculture. However, the drivers of ecological processes that lead to SRP loss in baseflow from groundwater are not sufficiently understood to design effective Best Management Practices (BMPs). In this paper, we examine how soil temperature and water table depth influence the SRP concentrations in groundwater for a dairy farm in a valley bottom in the Catskills (NY, USA). Measured SRP concentrations in groundwater and baseflow were greater during the fall, when soil temperatures are warmer, than during winter and spring. The observed concentrations were within the bounds predicted by groundwater temperatures using the Arrhenius equation, except during fall, when concentrations rose above these predictions. These elevated concentrations were likely caused by mineralization and consequent accumulation of phosphorous (P) in summer. In addition, SRP concentrations were greater in near-stream areas, where water tables where higher. In short, SRP concentrations are dependent on temperature, demonstrating the importance of understanding the underlying mechanism of ecological processes. In addition, results suggest BMPs that apply manure on land having a deep groundwater, instead of on land with a shallow water table will lower overall SRP contributions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Mountain Pine Beetles, Salvage Logging, and Hydrologic Change: Predicting Wet Ground Areas
Water 2013, 5(2), 443-461; doi:10.3390/w5020443
Received: 28 January 2013 / Revised: 26 March 2013 / Accepted: 2 April 2013 / Published: 15 April 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1083 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia has covered 18.1 million hectares of forest land showing the potential for exceptionally large-scale disturbance to influence watershed hydrology. Pine stands killed by the epidemic can experience reduced levels of evapotranspiration and precipitation interception, [...] Read more.
The mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia has covered 18.1 million hectares of forest land showing the potential for exceptionally large-scale disturbance to influence watershed hydrology. Pine stands killed by the epidemic can experience reduced levels of evapotranspiration and precipitation interception, which can translate into an increase in soil moisture as observed by some forest practitioners during salvage logging in the epicenter of the outbreak. They reported the replacement of summer ground, dry firm soil areas, with winter ground areas identified by having wetter, less firm soils upon which forestry equipment operation is difficult or impossible before winter freeze-up. To decrease the likelihood of soil disturbance from harvesting, a set of hazard indicators was developed to predict wet ground areas in areas heavily infested by the mountain pine beetle. Hazard indicators were based on available GIS data, aerial photographs, and local knowledge. Indicators were selected by an iterative process that began with office-based selection of potential indicators, model development and prediction, field verification, and model refinement to select those indicators that explained most field data variability. Findings indicate that the most effective indicators were lodgepole pine content, understory, drainage density, soil texture, and the topographic index. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Comparative Assessment of Stormwater and Nonpoint Source Pollution Best Management Practices in Suburban Watershed Management
Water 2013, 5(1), 280-291; doi:10.3390/w5010280
Received: 18 February 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2013 / Accepted: 7 March 2013 / Published: 13 March 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nonpoint source pollution control and stormwater management are two objectives in managing mixed land use watersheds like those in New Jersey. Various best management practices (BMPs) have been developed and implemented to achieve both objectives. This study assesses the cost-effectiveness of selected [...] Read more.
Nonpoint source pollution control and stormwater management are two objectives in managing mixed land use watersheds like those in New Jersey. Various best management practices (BMPs) have been developed and implemented to achieve both objectives. This study assesses the cost-effectiveness of selected BMPs for agricultural nonpoint source pollution control and stormwater management in the Neshanic River watershed, a typical mixed land use watershed in central New Jersey, USA. The selected BMPs for nonpoint source pollution control include cover crops, prescribed grazing, livestock access control, contour farming, nutrient management, and conservation buffers. The selected BMPs for stormwater management are rain gardens, roadside ditch retrofitting, and detention basin retrofitting. Cost-effectiveness is measured by the reduction in pollutant loads in total suspended solids and total phosphorus relative to the total costs of implementing the selected BMPs. The pollution load reductions for these BMPs are based on the total pollutant loads in the watershed simulated by the Soil and Water Assessment Tool and achievable pollutant reduction rates. The total implementation cost includes BMP installation and maintenance costs. The assessment results indicate that the BMPs for the nonpoint source pollution control are generally much more cost-effective in improving water quality than the BMPs for stormwater management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Spatial Model Assessment of P Transport from Soils to Waterways in an Eastern Mediterranean Watershed
Water 2013, 5(1), 262-279; doi:10.3390/w5010262
Received: 18 January 2013 / Revised: 20 February 2013 / Accepted: 22 February 2013 / Published: 12 March 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1921 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
P index is a management tool commonly used to identify critical source areas (CSAs) in agro-catchments. We tested the applicability of several P-index models adjusted to Eastern Mediterranean conditions. On the basis of model structure and data requirements, we selected the Arkansas [...] Read more.
P index is a management tool commonly used to identify critical source areas (CSAs) in agro-catchments. We tested the applicability of several P-index models adjusted to Eastern Mediterranean conditions. On the basis of model structure and data requirements, we selected the Arkansas model and two models with the RUSLE equation and runoff curve number (RCN). Concurrently, we developed a GIS-based Hermon-P model which was designed to simulate rainfall–runoff events representing the major nutrient-transport mechanism in Eastern Mediterranean. The P index values computed by the Arkansas and RUSLE models exhibited low correlation (r2 < 0.32) with the measured soluble reactive (SRP) and total P (TP), while the RCN model result correlations were somewhat higher (r2 = 0.53 for SRP and 0.45 for TP). High correlations between the calculated and measured P during rainfall–runoff events were only achieved with the Hermon model (r2 = 0.77 to 0.9). These high coefficients resulted from avoiding subjective categorization of the continuous variables and using the measured site-specific erosional predictors instead. On one occasion, during the first significant runoff event of the year, the Hermon model failed to predict total P in the stream water (r2 = 0.14) because of considerable resuspension of stream sediments. Most of the P-index models are based on the perceptual transfer-continuum framework that was developed for temperate agro-catchments; this framework does not consider P resuspension along streams during rainfall–runoff events. Hence, a new set of equations should be added to the P index to account for potential resuspension in Eastern Mediterranean streams at the beginning of the hydrological year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)
Open AccessArticle Soil Erosion and Surface Water Quality Impacts of Natural Gas Development in East Texas, USA
Water 2012, 4(4), 944-958; doi:10.3390/w4040944
Received: 27 September 2012 / Revised: 10 November 2012 / Accepted: 12 November 2012 / Published: 20 November 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4105 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Due to greater demands for hydrocarbons and improvements in drilling technology, development of oil and natural gas in some regions of the United States has increased dramatically. A 1.4 ha natural gas well pad was constructed in an intermittent stream channel at [...] Read more.
Due to greater demands for hydrocarbons and improvements in drilling technology, development of oil and natural gas in some regions of the United States has increased dramatically. A 1.4 ha natural gas well pad was constructed in an intermittent stream channel at the Alto Experimental Watersheds in East Texas, USA (F1), while another 1.1 ha well pad was offset about 15 m from a nearby intermittent stream (F2). V-notch weirs were constructed downstream of these well pads and stream sedimentation and water quality was measured. For the 2009 water year, about 11.76 cm, or almost 222% more runoff resulted from F1 than F2. Sediment yield was significantly greater at F1, with 13,972 kg ha−1 yr−1 versus 714 kg ha−1yr−1 at F2 on a per unit area disturbance basis for the 2009 water year. These losses were greater than was observed following forest clearcutting with best management practices (111–224 kg ha−1). Significantly greater nitrogen and phosphorus losses were measured at F1 than F2. While oil and gas development can degrade surface water quality, appropriate conservation practices like retaining streamside buffers can mitigate these impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview Quantifying the Relative Contributions of Forest Change and Climatic Variability to Hydrology in Large Watersheds: A Critical Review of Research Methods
Water 2013, 5(2), 728-746; doi:10.3390/w5020728
Received: 1 April 2013 / Revised: 20 May 2013 / Accepted: 21 May 2013 / Published: 13 June 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (255 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest change and climatic variability are two major drivers for influencing change in watershed hydrology in forest–dominated watersheds. Quantifying their relative contributions is important to fully understand their individual effects. This review paper summarizes the progress on quantifying the relative contributions of [...] Read more.
Forest change and climatic variability are two major drivers for influencing change in watershed hydrology in forest–dominated watersheds. Quantifying their relative contributions is important to fully understand their individual effects. This review paper summarizes the progress on quantifying the relative contributions of forest or land cover change and climatic variability to hydrology in large watersheds using available case studies. It compared pros and cons of various research methods, identified research challenges and proposed future research priorities. Our synthesis shows that the relative hydrological effects of forest changes and climatic variability are largely dependent on their own change magnitudes and watershed characteristics. In some severely disturbed watersheds, impacts of forest changes or land use changes can be as important as those from climatic variability. This paper provides a brief review on eight selected research methods for this type of research. Because each method or technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, combining two or more methods is a more robust approach than using any single method alone. Future research priorities include conducting more case studies, refining research methods, and considering mechanism-based research using landscape ecology and geochemistry approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)

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Open AccessCorrection Rex, J., et al. Mountain Pine Beetles, Salvage Logging, and Hydrologic Change: Predicting Wet Ground Areas. Water 2013, 5, 443–461
Water 2013, 5(3), 1440; doi:10.3390/w5031440
Received: 6 September 2013 / Accepted: 16 September 2013 / Published: 18 September 2013
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Abstract The authors wish to acknowledge a funding agency in their recently published paper [1] and make the following correction. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Watershed Management)

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