February 22, 2017

Stream Temperature Project

Contact: Jeff Simmons, Mount St. Mary’s University, simmons@msmary.edu

Initiated: 2010

RBAST: Riparian Buffers Affect Stream Temperatures – Phases  I & II

The primary objective of this project is to quantify the extent and nature of change in stream temperature regime caused by the presence of vegetated riparian zones (with respect to streams with no riparian vegetation). Secondary objectives are to 1) identify the components of the energy budget that have the greatest influence on stream temperature over a wide geographic range, 2) determine the best methods for managing stream temperatures, 3) examine the implications of harmful temperature regimes on biota, and 4) establish a dataset of baseline stream temperatures at each of the study sites.

The experiment compares a Forested stream reach (full canopy cover, 80 – 200 m in length) with a nearby or adjacent Open stream reach (80 – 200 m in length) with no tree or shrub canopy cover at several different sites around the U.S. Thus, it is a paired design with replication among sites. The main dependent variable will be the mean change in temperature (∆T) over the length of the reach. By using the ∆T we avoid the problem of climate differences among sites and by using short reaches with few inputs we minimize the effect of land-use at the large scale. Other dependent variables (that will be calculated from the raw temperature data at each location) will be daily mean temperature, daily maximum temperature, daily minimum temperature, mean daily range, degree days per year, mean net heat load per meter.

Phase I of this study consisted of a 4-month sampling period (1 June 2011 to 30 September 2011). A manuscript is currently being written based on these results.  Phase II runs from 1 October 2011 to 30 November 2012.