08 Sep Hydrology Assistant – Mosaics In Science
Lowney Creek, a tributary to Beaver Lake, is part of the 11,740-acre Beaver Basin Wilderness, designated in 2009. Lowney Creek is 3.1 km long, with two main tributaries, east (3.2 km) and west (1.3 km) branches. Prior to park establishment in 1966, the creek was dammed to create a series of fishing ponds, which led to sediment impoundment, increased water temperatures, and isolation of biological communities (U. S. Army Corps of Engineers 2013). Hydrologic baseline data is essential prior to management actions targeting restoration. In 2017, seven Hobo U20 loggers were deployed upstream and downstream of impoundments to assess stream temperatures and water levels throughout the channel. The loggers record temperature and water level hourly to allow for simultaneous comparison between sites. Stream discharge is collected at a subset of sites so that rating curves (estimated streamflow rates based on water level measurements) can be developed. As most of this data is in a raw format, the intern will apply functions in Aquarius Time-Series (a water quality database) required to import, correct, and graph continuous water quality data. On site, the intern will collect water level reference measurements, maintain data loggers, and measure stream discharge with flowmeters. The intern also will organize existing data and target field visits to fulfill gaps required for modeling streamflow. A site bulletin developed by the intern will provide a historical account of these low-head dams and their impacts to the watershed, as visitors often question the history of the landscape. Stream temperature and discharge graphs are the final product in interpreting this multi-year assessment for park managers and regional biologists, which will be included in resource reports and planning documents.