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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Research Project #431398

Research Project: Quantifying Post-fire Erosion on Rangelands

Location: Northwest Watershed Research Center

Project Number: 2052-13610-014-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 26, 2016
End Date: Sep 25, 2021

This project will quantify post-fire erosion rates from hillslope to watershed scales, identify the drivers of erosion, and determine the rate and controlling factors for site recovery. This research will also focus on development of a prototype watershed management tool which allows managers to run the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM) over large watersheds both pre- and post-fire and evaluate the impacts of management strategies.

In August, 2015 a large wildfire burned approximately 20% of the USDA-ARS Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW), providing a great opportunity to study the impact of fire on erosion rates at varying spatial scales. To accomplish the objective of the research, the following tasks will be performed: 1. Silt fences will be established on north and south facing slopes to measure surface soil erosion of hillslopes of varying length over a two year period in Murphy Creek, RCEW. 2. Site and plot characterization data will also be collected in an appropriate study design. 3. Stream discharge and sediment concentration will be evaluated for the same time period. 4. Precipitation from two remote weather will be summarized and related to erosion data. 5. RHEM will be incorporated into the existing Watershed Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP)-Cloud watershed interface and tested against existing datasets.