Tuolumne Meadows, CA

Meadow hydroecology

Project description

This project titled Innovative Methods for Characterizing Natural Riparian Discharge, focused on the analysis of the hydroecology of meadow systems in the northern Sierra Nevada of California. Land-use practices, particularly grazing and logging, have caused stream incision that results in a loss of hydrologic function in these meadow systems. To counteract these trends, landscape-scale restoration has been initiated in the watershed by a local nonprofit group, the Feather River Coordinated Resource Management Group FRCRM. We developed remote sensing techniques to help characterize, monitor, and model the hydrologic processes that occur in both the degraded and restored systems. We employed a combination of field work, high resolution remote sensing, and numerical modeling to help understand the spatially variable processes of baseflow and evapotranspiration. Since intensive monitoring can easily double the cost of restoration projects while still inadequately capturing the spatial variability, the objective of this research is to develop a transferable, cost-effective methodology for assessing restoration initiatives.