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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246130

Title: Using Wildlife Water Developments to Measure Precipitation and Estimate Runoff in Remote Catchments

item GRANT, NICHOLAS - University Of Nevada
item SAITO, LAUREL - University Of Nevada
item Weltz, Mark

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/5/2008
Publication Date: 2/3/2009
Citation: Grant, N., Saito, L., Weltz, M.A. 2009. Using Wildlife Water Developments to Measure Precipitation and Estimate Runoff in Remote Catchments [abstract]. Water Resource Association Annual Conference.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In Nevada, available data on precipitation and runoff in remote catchments is extremely limited. The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Network (COOP) includes 178 weather stations, most of which collect precipitation data and qualitative weather observations. Most of these stations are located in or near populated areas, which means that no observations are available for large areas of the state. More than 1500 wildlife water developments, commonly called “guzzlers,” are distributed throughout the state, with many installed in areas where precipitation data are lacking. Guzzlers are designed to capture rainwater and/or snowmelt to provide wildlife with water during dry periods. Some also capture surface runoff. Because of their design and location, guzzlers could significantly augment precipitation data, especially in unpopulated, remote, rural areas where precipitation records are sparse or nonexistent. This study is investigating the feasibility of instrumenting guzzlers with instrumentation to collect rainfall, runoff and water level data. A demonstration site has been constructed at the Nevada Department of Wildlife in Reno, and two pilot field sites have been selected in the Peterson Range north of Reno and in the Smoke Creek watershed northeast of Reno. At the completion of this pilot study, recommendations will be made to agencies involved with the installation and maintenance of wildlife guzzlers as to how they can best utilize available funds to instrument wildlife guzzlers, further improving precipitation gage coverage in the state of Nevada.