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Effects of wildfire on source-water quality and aquatic ecosystems, Colorado Front Range

IAHS Redbook; Proceedings of a conference held in Banff, 11-14 June 2012

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Abstract

Watershed erosion can dramatically increase after wildfire, but limited research has evaluated the corresponding influence on source-water quality. This study evaluated the effects of the Fourmile Canyon wildfire (Colorado Front Range, USA) on source-water quality and aquatic ecosystems using high-frequency sampling. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nutrient loads in stream water were evaluated for a one-year period during different types of runoff events, including spring snowmelt, and both frontal and summer convective storms. DOC export from the burned watershed did not increase relative to the unburned watershed during spring snowmelt, but substantial increases in DOC export were observed during summer convective storms. Elevated nutrient export from the burned watershed was observed during spring snowmelt and summer convective storms, which increased the primary productivity of stream biofilms. Wildfire effects on source-water quality were shown to be substantial following high-intensity storms, with the potential to affect drinking-water treatment processes.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of wildfire on source-water quality and aquatic ecosystems, Colorado Front Range
Series title:
IAHS Redbook; Proceedings of a conference held in Banff, 11-14 June 2012
Volume
354
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
IAHS Publications
Publisher location:
Oxfordshire, U.K.
Contributing office(s):
Branch of Regional Research-Central Region
Description:
6 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
IAHS Redbook; Proceedings of a conference held in Banff, 11-14 June 2012
First page:
117
Last page:
122
Number of Pages:
6
Country:
United States
State:
Colorado