Selected achievements, science directions, and new opportunities for the WEBB small watershed research program

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Abstract

Over nearly two decades, the Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) small watershed research program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has documented how water and solute fluxes, nutrient, carbon, and mercury dynamics, and weathering and sediment transport respond to natural and humancaused drivers, including climate, climate change, and atmospheric deposition. Together with a continued and increasing focus on the effects of climate change, more investigations are needed that examine ecological effects (e.g., evapotranspiration, nutrient uptake) and responses (e.g., species abundances, biodiversity) that are coupled with the physical and chemical processes historically observed in the WEBB program. Greater use of remote sensing, geographic modeling, and habitat/watershed modeling tools is needed, as is closer integration with the USGS-led National Phenology Network. Better understanding of process and system response times is needed. The analysis and observation of land-use and climate change effects over time should be improved by pooling data obtained by the WEBB program during the last two decades with data obtained earlier and (or) concurrently from other research and monitoring studies conducted at or near the five WEBB watershed sites. These data can be supplemented with historical and paleo-environmental information, such as could be obtained from tree rings and lake cores. Because of the relatively pristine nature and small size of its watersheds, the WEBB program could provide process understanding and basic data to better characterize and quantify ecosystem services and to develop and apply indicators of ecosystem health. In collaboration with other Federal and State watershed research programs, the WEBB program has an opportunity to contribute to tracking the short-term dynamics and long-term evolution of ecosystem services and health indicators at a multiplicity of scales across the landscape. 

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Selected achievements, science directions, and new opportunities for the WEBB small watershed research program
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Description 14 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Planning for an uncertain future - Monitoring, integration, and adaptation (SIR 2009-5049)
First page 39
Last page 52
Conference Title Third interagency conference on research in the watersheds
Conference Location Estes Park, CO
Conference Date September 8-11, 2008
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N