Analysis of hydrology and erosion in small, paired watersheds in a juniper-sagebrush area of central Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rf55zb16n

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  • Current research indicates that the expansion of western juniper can inhibit soil water retention, storage and prolonged releases from watersheds. This phenomenon is of great importance in eastern Oregon, as western juniper is encroaching into sagebrush/grass communities with a correlated reduction in herbaceous ground cover, resulting in reduced infiltration rates and increased soil loss. A paired watershed study for the purpose of monitoring water quality/quantity as affected by western juniper in the Camp Creek drainage, a tributary to the Crooked River, was established in 1994. Monitoring methods consisted of annual and semiannual measurements of hillslope soil movement, channel morphology, including total cross-sectional area, scour and deposition, channel discharge, depth to groundwater, and precipitation. Channel discharge was established using a 3,0 H-flume with a pressure transducer and stilling well and data logger. Changes in channel morphology were determined using 25 permanent, channel cross-section plots per watershed. Hillslope erosion processes were determined using 12 transects of 3 sediment stakes per watershed, located within gullies of subwatersheds. Data showed the two study areas to be well correlated with regards to soil movement, both within the main channels and in the subwatersheds (hillslopes). Some of the geomorphometric properties are similar (not statistically different) and differences in other parameters can be explained. Channel discharge appears to be significantly different in intensity, frequency, and duration of flow. These differences in surface discharge may be explained as further data collection of subsurface flow analysis in conjunction with sampling of springs located in each watershed are conducted.
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