Drop it like it’s Hot : Combining DTS and Temperature Modeling to Evaluate Stream Restoration on the Middle Fork of the John Day River Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/s4655j864

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  • Temperature is a key factor for salmonid health and is an important restoration metric on the Middle Fork of the John Day River in northeast Oregon. In the past century, dredge mining, deforestation, and overgrazing have degraded stream habitat and resulted in greater daytime stream temperatures in the region. Recent restoration efforts have focused on mitigating these anthropogenic disturbances by reestablishing floodplain connections, replanting riparian vegetation, and improving instream habitat features and sediment. To evaluate these restoration projects, the Middle Fork of the John Day River was designated as an intensively monitored watershed in 2008, setting the stage for a 10-year temperature monitoring study. Temperatures measured during the summers of 2013 and 2014 add to the wealth of high resolution distributed temperature sensing (DTS) data collected by Oregon State University and serve as the first post-restoration data for a 2012 restoration project. Utilizing these data in coordination with the model, Heat Source, temperature change from two large restoration projects was quantified. Results from the study emphasize the significance of stream area and riparian vegetation on stream temperatures on the Middle Fork. Phase 2 of the Oxbow Tailings Restoration, completed in 2012, filled over a channel used for past dredge mining activities, reducing stream surface area and restoring the bifurcated channel to its historic south path. Findings show that this project has buffered daily stream temperatures, leading to decreases in maximum and daytime temperatures and increases in nightly temperatures for early August. Maximum and afternoon temperatures were shown to decrease by 0.65 °C and 0.91 °C, respectively, while nightly temperatures increased 0.85 °C. Continuing immediately downstream of the Phase 2 project, Phase 3 is currently in its final stages of construction. Objectives of Phase 3 seek to increase stream meanders, restore vegetation, and reconnect the stream to the adjacent valley and Ruby Creek tributary. Projecting future temperatures shows that the longer, wider restored channel increases afternoon temperature by 0.53 °C. Unlike Phase 2, changes to maximum and nightly temperatures were negligable. Altering the design width and vegetation for the restored channel revealed strong linear correlations to stream temperature, providing a simple tool that can be used to estimate temperature difference for future areal and shading scenarios.
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