Land-cover and climatic controls on water temperature, flow permanence, and fragmentation of Great Basin stream networks

Water
By: , and 

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Abstract

The seasonal and inter-annual variability of flow presence and water temperature within headwater streams of the Great Basin of the western United States limit the occurrence and distribution of coldwater fish and other aquatic species. To evaluate changes in flow presence and water temperature during seasonal dry periods, we developed spatial stream network (SSN) models from remotely sensed land-cover and climatic data that account for autocovariance within stream networks to predict the May to August flow presence and water temperature between 2015 and 2017 in two arid watersheds within the Great Basin: Willow and Whitehorse Creeks in southeastern Oregon and Willow and Rock Creeks in northern Nevada. The inclusion of spatial autocovariance structures improved the predictive performance of the May water temperature model when the stream networks were most connected, but only marginally improved the August water temperature model when the stream networks were most fragmented. As stream network fragmentation increased from the spring to the summer, the SSN models revealed a shift in the scale of processes affecting flow presence and water temperature from watershed-scale processes like snowmelt during high-runoff seasons to local processes like groundwater discharge during sustained seasonal dry periods.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Land-cover and climatic controls on water temperature, flow permanence, and fragmentation of Great Basin stream networks
Series title Water
DOI 10.3390/w12071962
Volume 12
Issue 7
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center, Washington Water Science Center
Description 1962, 29 p.
Country United States
State California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon
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