- Sources of Summer Streamflow
- Seventy Years of Steam Gaging
- Andrews Forest in three new books
- Making History: OSU Special Collections
- Views of the Forest
Summer streamflow in rivers is essential for ecosystems and for human use, and it is particularly important in regions where there is no little or no summer precipitation. Despite its importance, the factors that determine summer streamflow are poorly understood. To learn more, researcher Catalina Segura measured oxygen and hydrogen isotopic composition (δ18O and δ2H) in 607 water samples from Lookout Creek at the Andrews Forest to evaluate the effects of climate variability on summer streamflow. Catalina and her team found substantial differences in the sources of summer streamflow in a year with average precipitation (2016) compared to a year with low snowpack and subsequent summer drought (2015). In 2016, δ18O levels were correlated with elevation, reflecting the influence of prior precipitation and snow on summer streamflow. In contrast, in 2015 the δ18O values depended on topography, reflecting the importance of water stored in thick landslide and glacial deposits. Catalina also found that baseflow was not related to drainage area: a spring-fed tributary called Cold Creek delivered 15 times more water per unit area during baseflow than the remainder of Lookout Creek above the confluence with Cold Creek, illustrating the importance of water stored in porous volcanic bedrock. As drought increases in a warming climate, summer flow in mountain catchments may become more dependent on storage in geologic features. The article, “Climate, Landforms, and Geology Affect Baseflow Sources in a Mountain Catchment” appears in the journal Water Resource Research. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2018WR023551
The Willamette National Forest has stationed Rob Mutch at the Carpenter Mountain fire lookout every summer since 2015. From that majestic perch, Rob has practiced his craft as an ecosystem photographer, beautifully documenting sunrises, sunsets, raptors hovering outside his wrap-around windows, and pikas, chipmunks, and bugs sharing the space. Rob’s images capture scenes of the Andrews Forest less commonly associated with the site: talus slopes, high meadows, and sweeping vistas. Pictured above is a panorama of sunset over the distant Pacific with the talus slope and Wolf Rock at his feet. See more at www.facebook.com/robmutch2
- See the Andrews Forest through the lens of photographer David Paul Bayles in the online magazine, Terrain.org: www.terrain.org/2019/arterrain/david-paul-bayles
- Or, through the photography and writing of Ian Vorster in Oregon State University’s research magazine, Terra: terra.oregonstate.edu/2019/05/seedbeds-of-collaboration
- Or, through the art of Leah Wilson at www.leahwilson.com
The Andrews is a forest full of surprises. The more we study our system the more complex and amazing it seems to be. Another species of surprise occurs when ecological theory suggests one thing, and over time we see quite another in the forest. These are the types of the ecology of surprise that we study and discover, that fill this issue of our newsletter. The outsized impact of a single cold stream, the discovery of hundreds of endophyte species living in the needles of a Douglas-fir tree, and the complexity of our terrestrial and stream food webs are all good examples of our discoveries of surprise. That’s what we do, we discover surprises. I believe this really matters. A common response to a story of surprise is a simple, but ethically loaded, “wow.” And “wow” is as important as it is simple. “Wow” is positively charged, and in at least two ways. We seldom think or say “wow, that’s amazing!” and then quickly follow with “we should destroy that.” The discovery of surprises might also deliver a dose of humility to our larger society which so often seems “humility-limited.” The long-term nature of our place, and our work, and our community creates unique opportunities for surprise, in turn creating the opportunity for larger and important ethical impacts on the world.
Lauren Zatkos is a Master’s student with Ivan Arismendi in the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife at Oregon State University. Lauren spent two summers at the Andrews Forest, working in streams to study fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Her research explores how the structures of aquatic food webs change along a headwater stream network, and if these patterns may be related to features of the surrounding landscape. Lauren is using data she collected in the field as well data housed within the extensive Andrews Forest’s Databank from previously conducted surveys funded by the LTER program, the USGS, the USFS PNW Station, the SCALER project, and NEON. Lauren’s investigation of food web structures will enhance our understanding of how food webs may change with variation in the landscape and what these changes could mean for aquatic community response and resilience to disturbances.
Portlander Posy Busby has been an Assistant Professor in Botany and Plant Pathology at OSU since only 2016, but her roots with the Andrews Forest go back to the summer of 2001 as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student. Posy’s REU project led to a publication on the fate of standing live trees in partially cut sites on the Willamette National Forest, and to her 2002 undergraduate thesis at Harvard on the role of Andrews Forest research in conservation of old-growth forests. Posy extended her interests in history of science through an analysis of public communications (e.g., newspaper and magazine articles) involving the Andrews Forest for 1988-2002.
It was 70 years ago (25 August 1949 to be precise) that the US Geological Survey (USGS) started gaging Lookout Creek of the Andrews Forest. Harry S. Truman was president. While the official record starts on 1 October 1949, gaging was already underway; we have a copy of the A-35 chart to represent the 25 August start. The USGS maintains the stream gage to this day, but the Andrews Forest PNW/LTER record is the only complete record of stream discharge on Lookout Creek. The PNW/LTER mined records from the National Archives through the USGS Portland Oregon Water Science Center to digitize, enter, and otherwise reconstruct an hourly record starting in 1949 through 1986 when the USGS high temporal resolution record begins. This long-term data set (HF004) is unique among Pacific Northwest streams in its extent and availability. Over the 70-year period, Lookout Creek has ranged from a trickle of 5 cubic feet per second in mid-September of 1981 to an estimated 8,000 cfs in the famous flood on February 7th, 1996.
The cornerstone of long-term ecological research is the collection and management of long-term data. Two of our long-term data gatherers and managers are about to retire, leaving us a vast wealth of information resources—and big shoes to fill.
In 1996-1998 Historian Max Geier conducted 32 individual and 5 group oral history interviews as foundation for his book Necessary Work: Discovering Old Forests, New Outlooks, and Community on the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, 1948-2000. Now, more than 20 years later, Geier’s history interviews are proving to be valuable resources in preparation of two new books—one on the Andrews Forest and the other the Northwest Forest Plan. Audio and transcript formats of the oral histories are now accessible online in the OSU Special Collections Oral History Program. Oregon State University, PNW Forest Service, and National Forest staff recount a stunning variety of career paths to converge in the upper McKenzie River and to work in intense and close collaboration as central players in the reshaping of Federal forest lands practices and policy during the 1980s and early 1990s.