Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #221904

Title: Research data collection at the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed

item Marks, Daniel
item Seyfried, Mark
item Flerchinger, Gerald
item Winstral, Adam

Submitted to: Agricultural Research Service Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2008
Publication Date: 2/1/2008
Citation: Marks, D.G., Seyfried, M.S., Flerchinger, G.N., Winstral, A.H. 2008. Research data collection at the reynolds creek experimental watershed. Journal of Service Climatology 1(1), 1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Nearly 5 decades of data collection and hydrologic research are described and summarized. The location of measurement sites is mapped, and instrument procedures and protocols are indicated. Tables of measured parameters are presented, indicating the temporal extent of the data. Some of the more specialized experimental data collection efforts, such as eddy covariance (EC), soil micro-climate, and snowcover energy balance are discussed. Instructions are presented for electronic acquisition of the data.

Technical Abstract: To understand how variations in climate, land use, and land cover will impact water, ecosystem, and natural resources in snow-dominated regions we must have access to long-term hydrologic and climatic databases. Data from watersheds that include significant human activities, such as grazing, farming, irrigation, and urbanization, are critical for determining the signature of human induced changes on hydrologic processes and the water cycle. One of the primary components of effective watershed research is a sustained, long-term monitoring and measurement program. Such an effort was undertaken when the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) was added to the USDA Agricultural Research Service watershed program in 1960. The RCEW, a 239 km2 drainage in the Owyhee Mountains near Boise, Idaho, has been continuously monitored since the early 1960's and continues to the present. Robins et al. [1965], The vision for RCEW as an outdoor hydrologic laboratory in which watershed research would be supported by sustained, long-term monitoring of basic hydro-climatic parameters was described 1965 in the first volume of Water Resources Research. Research at the RCEW continues to be supported by monitoring at 9 weirs, 21 primary and 4 secondary meteorological measurement stations, 24 precipitation stations, 8 snow courses, 5 snow study sites, 14 soil temperature, 4 soil moisture measurement and 3 sub-surface hill-slope hydrology sites. These support a wide range of experimental investigations including snow hydrology and physics, cold season hydrology, water quality, model development and testing, water and carbon flux experiments, ecosystem processe studies, grazing effects, and mountain climate research. Active watershed manipulation allows fire ecology and hydrology, vegetation-climate inter-action, watershed restoration, grazing and wildlife management, and invasive plant research. All data are ingested into a computer database, and available to the public via both web-based and on-line ftp access.