The U.S. Geological Survey has selected the Sleepers River Research Watershed (Sleepers River) near Danville, Vt., as one of five sites for the investigation of Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB). Sleepers River was chosen because it is a well-designed outdoor laboratory with a long history of hydrologic data collection and research, and also because it provides an ideal opportunity for collaboration among the U.S. Geological Survey, other Federal agencies, and universities at the site. The multiple subwatersheds at Sleepers River present a unique opportunity to investigate hydrologic, energy, and biogeochemical processes over a variety of spatial scales. This WEBB study builds on fundamental research on process mechanisms and rates at the plot scale (in this case, a hillslope). Results then are scaled up to interpret the hydrochemical response of first- and higher- order basins. Five research elements make up the Sleepers River WEBB project. Individually, each of the five elements is designed to investigate specific WEBB processes (such as CO2 efflux through a snowpack), address specific WEBB issues (such as scaling and flowpaths), or apply specific WEBB approaches (such as integrated chemical and physical study of a hillslope). The research elements overlap so that many of the processes investigated will be assessed in more than one way, thus allowing independent verification of research results. For example, flowpath information will be derived separately by use of isotopic tracers, conservative chemical solutes, and soil-moisture fluxes. Collectively, the five elements constitute an integrated approach to a comprehensive understanding of WEBB processes needed for the prediction of the effects of global change.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water, energy, and biogeochemical budget research at Sleepers River Research Watershed, Vermont
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