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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED INVASIVE SPECIES CONTROL, REVEGETATION, AND ASSESSMENT OF GREAT BASIN RANGELANDS Title: Instrumenting wildlife water developments to collect hydrometeorological data in remote western U.S. catchments

Authors
item Grant, Nicholas -
item Saito, Laurel -
item Weltz, Mark
item Walker, Mark -
item Stewart, Kelly -
item Morris, Christopher

Submitted to: Journal of Atmospheric and Ocean Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 23, 2013
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00065.1
Citation: Grant, N., Saito, L., Weltz, M.A., Walker, M., Stewart, K., Morris, C.E. 2013. Instrumenting wildlife water developments to collect hydrometeorological data in remote western U.S. catchments. Journal of Atmospheric and Ocean Technology. DOI:10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00065.1.

Interpretive Summary: In the arid western United States, wildlife water developments, or “guzzlers,” are an important water source for wildlife. Guzzlers are small manmade structures designed to catch surface runoff and store the water in tanks for use by wildlife in the dry season when minimal surface water is available to meet their needs. Guzzlers are typically installed in remote, mid- to high-elevation basins where precipitation data is scarce in the western United States. In this study, we examined small game guzzlers as potential sites for improving estimates of climatic parameters in remote Nevada catchments and duration of water available to wildlife. Instruments measuring precipitation and water levels were installed at two guzzler field sites near Reno, Nevada. Although one of the field sites was vandalized during the study, field results indicated that water levels in the tank measured by pressure transducers corresponded well with precipitation events measured by the tipping bucket rain gauge. With over 1,600 guzzlers in Nevada and thousands more throughout the western United States, this study’s results demonstrate that guzzler sites can be augmented with climatic instrumentation at a relatively low cost to improve the quality and density of climate observations, benefitting hydrologists, climatologists and wildlife managers.

Technical Abstract: In the arid western United States, wildlife water developments, or “guzzlers,” are an important water source for wildlife. Guzzlers are typically installed in remote, mid- to high-elevation basins where precipitation data are often scarce. In this study, we examined small game guzzlers as potential sites for improving estimates of climatic parameters in remote Nevada catchments. Instruments measuring precipitation and water level were installed at two guzzler field sites. In addition, we tested the effects of exposure to extreme temperatures on these instruments at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Texas Electronics and RainWise tipping bucket rain gauges selected for testing underreported rainfall rates at increasing intensities. Two out of three Hobo pressure transducers failed during cold trials, and although all three Solinst pressure transducers remained functional throughout all experimental trials, one mis-reported depths consistently by the conclusion of the trials. The RainWise data logger was considered unreliable because the date tended to reset during exposure to extreme cold, but Campbell Scientific and Hobo data loggers performed well. Although one of the field sites was vandalized during the study, field results indicated that water levels in the tank measured by Hobo pressure transducers corresponded well with precipitation events measured by the Texas Electronics tipping bucket rain gauge. With over 1,600 guzzlers in Nevada and thousands more throughout the western United States, this study’s results demonstrate that guzzler sites can be augmented with climatic instrumentation at a relatively low cost to improve the quality and density of climate observations, benefitting hydrologists, climatologists and wildlife managers.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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