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Hydrologic Response of Meadow Restoration the First Year Following Removal of Encroached Conifers

1
Natural Resources Management and Environmental Science Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA
2
Physics Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(3), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030428
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

This study examines the hydrologic response of a montane meadow the first winter following restoration by removal of encroached conifers. Hydrologic change was evaluated through statistical comparison of soil moisture and water table depths between the restored meadow, Marian Meadow, and a Control Meadow before and after restoration. Meadow water budgets and durations of water table depths during the growing season were evaluated. Electrical resistivity tomography profiles were collected to improve the spatial interpretation of subsurface water beyond well measurements. The first year following restoration Marian Meadow had a statistically significant increase in volumetric soil moisture content of 4% with depth to the water table decreasing on average by 0.15 m. The water budget for the meadows demonstrated that the hydrologic change following removal of encroached conifers was primarily due to a reduction of vegetation interception capture. Soil evapotranspiration rates in both the Control and Marian Meadows were relatively stable ranging from 268–288 mm/yr with the exception of the year following conifer removal in Marian Meadow with 318 mm/yr. The increase in soil evapotranspiration in the first post restoration year is attributed to loss of vegetation cover and higher proportions of bare soil created from the harvest operations. The duration of post-restoration water table depths during the growing season at Marian Meadow were less than or equal to 0.7 m and 0.3 m for 85 days and 50 days, respectively, indicating hydrologic conditions conducive to meadow vegetation. View Full-Text
Keywords: conifer encroachment; meadow restoration; meadow hydrology; electrical resistivity; water yield conifer encroachment; meadow restoration; meadow hydrology; electrical resistivity; water yield
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Surfleet, C.; Sanford, T.; VanOosbree, G.; Jasbinsek, J. Hydrologic Response of Meadow Restoration the First Year Following Removal of Encroached Conifers. Water 2019, 11, 428.

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