Comparing wildfire and forest management effects on water quality and fish in headwater ecosystems
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ashley Coble, NCASI
Collaborator(s): Oregon State University
Supported by: Western Trade Association Member Companies
Project Summary: The 2020 Oregon wildfires burned more than ~1.19M acres (~481K ha) of forest land. Given that fires of the magnitude observed in 2020 are projected to continue to occur across the Western U.S., it is critical to quantify the effects from the current wildfires to enable informed policy and forest and water management decisions in the future. The Archie Creek fire in the southern Cascades burned both the north and south fork of Hinkle Creek, which were control and treatment watersheds, respectively, in the contemporary Hinkle Creek paired watershed study (HCPWS). Hinkle Creek is uniquely suited to directly evaluate the relative effects of wildfire versus contemporary forest harvest on water quality and biota by leveraging 10 years of pre-fire data (4 years pre-harvest, 6 years post-harvest) that includes discharge (Surfleet and Skaugset 2013), stream temperature (Kibler et al. 2013), stream chemistry (Meininger 2012), suspended sediment, amphibian (Leuthold et al. 2012), and fish (Bateman et al. 2016).
This project will measure stream temperature, turbidity, and fish population responses in the first four years following the 2020 stand-replacing wildfire and will compare these responses with pre- and post-harvest responses.
Loss of riparian forests from wildfire led to increased stream temperatures in summer, yet salmonid fish persisted
Authored by: Dana R. Warren, David A. Roon, Allison G. Swartz, and Kevin D. Bladon
Contact Ashley Coble at email@example.com