Native woody riparian species, primarily plains cottonwood (Populus fremontii), are regenerating at less than historical rates along Boulder Creek, a regulated stream near Boulder, Colorado. Loss of native riparian habitats might cause a decline in numbers of some native wildlife species. Previous studies have indicated that streamflow regulation can adversely affect native riparian vegetation reproduction. Surface- and ground-water data were collected from September 1989 to September 1991 along a riparian section of Boulder Creek to assist ecologists in assessing woody plant-recruitment characteristics. Annual mean streamflows in Boulder Creek at Cottonwood Grove of 34.5 cubic feet per second for water year 1990 (October 1, 1989- September 30, 1990) and 34.1 cubic feet per second for water year 1991 were 53 percent less than a site on Boulder Creek about 5 miles upstream from the study area. Diversions dating from 1882 caused most of the decrease. The alluvial aquifer in the study area averaged 5 feet in thickness and consisted of gravel- to cobble-size particles derived from crystalline rock of Precambrian age. The direction of ground-water movement was similar to the direction of streamflow. Ground-water movement in the northeastern part of the grove was affected by a pond constructed at a lower elevation than the stream channel. Water levels in the alluvial aquifer adjacent to the stream pre- dominantly were affected by stream stage, whereas farther from the channel, ground-water levels were affected by other processes such as evapotrans- piration, infiltration, and recharge from urban runoff.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic assessment of a riparian section along Boulder Creek near Boulder, Colorado, September 1989-September 1991
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey :
Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],