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Projects

A Preliminary Investigation of Climate Change Impacts on Soil Water and Carbon Dynamics

A Preliminary Investigation of Climate Change Impacts on Soil Water and Carbon Dynamics

Status: Completed

Contact: Helga Van Miegroet


Funding Organization: Utah State University

USU Preliminary Investigation

Subject: Soil water, carbon dynamics, climate change


Category: Research

Data Type: Climate


Abstract: A pilot study by an interdisciplinary team of USU scientists in hydrology (David Chandler), terrestrial biogeochemistry (Helga Van Miegroet), soil pedogenesis (Janis Boettinger), and ecosystem ecology (Michelle Baker) will be initiated at the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest in the Bear River Range. Our objective is to investigate the effect of climate change on soil microclimate (temperature and moisture regime) and soil organic carbon dynamics (SOC distribution, quality, decomposition, leaching) in three vegetation types (conifer forest, aspen and sagebrush shrub) that are representative for the Intermountain West.

Baseline soil temperature, soil moisture distribution, and dissolved C fluxes will be measured in a total of 27 plots laid out in a randomized block design with three blocks and three treatments (control, additional summer precipitation, accelerated winter snowmelt) per vegetation type. In the first year, no snow manipulation treatment will be implemented.

This study will yield preliminary data on microclimatic, hydrological, and C responses to precipitation manipulation, and differences among vegetation types.

The project will provide an interdisciplinary research and training experience to undergraduate students while contributing to the development of the Bear River Laboratory Watershed. It will complement research and teaching activities already initiated by the collaborators at the site.

Publications:
Factors Affecting Carbon Dioxide Reslease from Forest and Rangeland Soils in Northern Utah Soil carbon distribution and quality in a montane rangeland-forest mosaic in northern Utah Storage and Stability of Soil Organic Carbon in Aspen and Conifer Forest Soils of Northern Utah

A River Continuum Analysis of an Anthropogenically-Impacted System: The Little Bear River, Utah

A River Continuum Analysis of an Anthropogenically-Impacted System: The Little Bear River, Utah

Website http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol18/iss1/1/

Abstract: In September 2012 the Aquatic Ecology Practicum class from Utah State University studied the 51km river continuum of the Little Bear River located in northern Utah (Figure 1). The relatively pristine headwaters of the river begin in the Wasatch Mountain Range at an altitude of 1800 m. The river flows northward into Cache Valley where it terminates in Cutler Reservoir (1345 m elevation). Agricultural development and urbanization have modified the natural terrain and chemical characteristics of the river, and Hyrum Reservoir, located midway along the gradient causes a discontinuity in river processes. The results from analyses of stream condition indicators from up to eleven stations along the gradient were interpreted within the context of the River Continuum Concept (Vannote et al. 1980) and the Serial Discontinuity Hypothesis (Ward and Stanford 1983).

Bear River Conservation Action Plan

Bear River Conservation Action Plan


Status: Completed


Contact: Joan Degiorgio

Web: https://bearriverinfo.org/digital-resources/browse-resources


Subject: Planning, conservation

Category: Planning

Data Type: Biology

Start Date: Monday, January 05, 2009

End Date: Monday, December 07, 2009

Abstract: The Conservation Action Plan will consist of using existing information on biological targets of importance - Bear River uplands, riparian and wetlands systems - to assess their status. Based on this information, the groups involved will identify current and desired conditions, limiting factors and develop strategies to abate the threats and enhance the targets. The effort is looking at the entire Bear River and aims to create a biologic plan for the river that is as well-implemented as the current water delivery system.

Bear River Watershed Historical Bibliography

Bear River Watershed Historical Bibliography

Status: Current

Contact: Research

Funding Organization: bear river, historical bibliography

Web: https://bearriverinfo.org/projects/historical-bibliography

Subject: bear river, historical bibliography

Category: Research

Data Type: Other

Abstract: The intent of this project is to develop a revised bibliography of documents and Bear River related information housed in the Utah State University Special Collections and Archives. This revised bibliography will be created in HTML and made available on the Internet through the department's website, and will link to catalog records and on-line registers. The web page will provide not only a convenient bibliography for "one-stop shopping" for researchers of the Bear River, but also provide an opportunity to conduct much of the preliminary research on-line. Space for the web-page will be provided by Utah State University Library server computers. This project will lay the groundwork for eventually developing an expanded digital collection focusing on the Bear River Basin. This project is designed to support the Laboratory Watershed Initiative by identifying sources of information that document changing conditions and developments in the Bear River Watershed during the past 150 years.

Bear River Watershed Historical Bibliography

Bear River Watershed Historical Digital Collection

Bear River Watershed Historical Digital Collection

Status: Completed

Contact: Cheryl Walters

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/Bear

Subject: Bear River Watershed

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quality

Start Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2005

End Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Abstract: The Bear River Watershed’s geography, history, and development are the primary focus of this collection of images, maps, papers, and reports. Funded by grants from the Utah State University Water Initiative, this project digitizes selected materials cited in the Bear River Watershed Historical Bibliography, including photographs of the Bear River from the 1860s to the 1990s, manuscripts and records of local irrigation companies, research on the societal impact of reclamation development in the Bear River Basin, and the papers of Utah Governor George Dewey Clyde, who as a former USU Engineering Dean collected documentation on Bear River water conditions as far back as the 1920s. Originals are housed in Utah State University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives.

Collection and Analysis of Socioeconomic Data in the Bear River Basin Watershed Study Area

Collection and Analysis of Socioeconomic Data in the Bear River Basin Watershed Study Area

Status: Current

Contact: Douglas Jackson-Smith

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: https://bearriverinfo.org/projects/socioeconomic-data-analysis

Subject: bear river, socioeconomic data

Category: Research

Data Type: Socioeconomic

Abstract: Most contentious water issues in the Bear River Basin are rooted in complex human land use behaviors. For example, the growing demands for water by new residential and recreational users have placed increasing pressure on traditional irrigated agricultural operations in the watershed. Similarly, changes within traditional land use categories can have dramatic impacts on water quality and water quantity throughout this region. These include apparent shifts from intensive irrigated cropland into less intensive irrigated pasture or unirrigated crop or conservation reserve program land uses, increases or decreases in animal stocking rates on public and private rangeland, and concentration of dairy and hog livestock numbers on larger operations.

As researchers at Utah State University initiate multidisciplinary studies in the Bear River basin, it is imperative to have accurate and detailed information about the underlying demographic and land use changes taking place. In coming years, these changes can be spatially referenced to documented changes in hydrologic flows and water quality in the basin. The goal of this project is to develop a scientifically valid database that can be used to analyze regional and local demographic and land use trends that have important implications for water resources in the proposed Bear River Laboratory Watershed. This database will serve as the foundation for a socioeconomic profile report describing recent changes and current conditions. It will also generate future research questions regarding links between socioeconomic trends and water supply and quality issues in the basin. Ideally, these questions will be addressed with natural science colleagues in multidisciplinary grant proposals developed next year.

This research will begin with a careful inventory of existing databases regarding human activities in the watershed. We will then develop new aggregate datasets to document county-level and basin-wide changes in the structure and performance of the agricultural sector, overall patterns of land cover, and the size and composition of population and housing stock. Geospatially-explicit data will also be collected regarding the location and type of: a) existing housing and new residential construction activities; b) key agricultural and recreational infrastructure; and c) key agricultural and rural land cover changes that reflect spatial shifts in the underlying human behaviors.

Comparison of Limnological Characteristics in Cutler Reservoir (Utah) near the Inflows of the Logan River and the Logan Wastewater Treatment Plant

Comparison of Limnological Characteristics in Cutler Reservoir (Utah) near the Inflows of the Logan River and the Logan Wastewater Treatment Plant

Abstract: Water quality sondes were deployed in Cutler Reservoir at two sites near the discharge of the Logan Wastewater Treatment Plant, and at one site in the lower Logan River for three days in September prior to the class field trip. Oxygen concentrations showed expected diel cycles at all three sites. In the Logan River oxygen concentrations varied from over 15 mg/L on two nights and below 1 mg/L on the third night. Temperatures cycled in the Logan River between 16 degrees C during the day and around 12 degrees C at night. In the very shallow site near the treatment plants discharge, temperatures were 15-16 degrees C during the day, but dropped to 8-9 degrees C at night. Although the low oxygen levels are suggestive of an impaired condition, comparison with another non-impacted wetland suggests that low nighttime oxygen may be a normal characteristic of wetlands. More comparative work is needed to assess whether oxygen conditions in the Cutler Reservoir are naturally low, or low due to anthropogenic eutrophication.

Project Report

Contributing to Drought Management Through Understanding Factors Influencing Human Conservation Behavior

Contributing to Drought Management Through Understanding Factors Influencing Human Conservation Behavior

Status: Current

Contact: Joanna Endter-Wada

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: https://bearriverinfo.org/projects/contributing-to-drought-management

Subject: drought management, water conservation

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quantity

Abstract: Drought management and the long-term sustainability of expanding populations living in arid regions of the Western United States require that we have a better understanding of the factors influencing human behaviors toward the environment, more generally, and toward water as a critical and limited resource. Promoting water conservation is important not only in urban environments, but is important for addressing ecological, recreation, and aesthetic concerns and the needs of rural communities. Water shortages and water quality issues are global, not simply local. Understanding water conservation behaviors is part of the key to promoting the efficient and equitable allocation of water and the maintenance of water quality.

Scientists focused on understanding human populations (“human scientists,” meaning policy, economic, social, and cultural scientists of various stripes) have attempted to explain “conservation behavior” (or “environmentally-friendly behavior”) in relation to recycling, resource conservation (e.g., conserving water, electricity, and fossil fuels), purchasing “green products,” and interactions with specific aspects of the natural world (e.g., animals, unique landforms, and rare species). Human scientists have looked at a variety of factors, including attitudes, values, knowledge, demographics, motivations (including various internal and external incentives and disincentives, concerns for environmental quality, social pressure, altruism, and convenience), and contextual factors (e.g., “crisis response”) as possible predictors of conservation behavior. None of these factors have been particularly successful at explaining the full range of variability in conservation behaviors. A more complete understanding of conservation behaviors has direct implications for the potential success of programs designed to encourage resource conservation. The potential efficacy of utilizing education, pricing mechanisms, other types of economic incentives, regulatory approaches, and/or combinations of these approaches for encouraging conservation behavior is hotly debated among human scientists and policy makers.

The literature suggests and we are convinced that conservation behavior is the result of a complex mix of factors that can only be understood by addressing the problem in an interdisciplinary fashion. First of all, there is a need for human scientists to synthesize the findings on conservation behavior from their various disciplines. In this regard, two areas of inquiry deserve more attention: investigating the formation of habits whereby conservation becomes instilled and results in longer-term lifestyle changes; and, recognizing and addressing the scale question in human decision-making that greatly influences people’s ability to engage in behaviors consistent with their values, knowledge, motivations, etc. (humans participate in decision-making as individuals, members of households, members of groups, employees in workplaces and institutions, and citizens of communities and larger polities).

Secondly, there is a need for human scientists to work more closely with scientists from the physical, ecological, and engineering sciences to understand conservation behavior. Several interesting and potentially fruitful areas of inquiry into conservation behavior relate specifically to the way in which people’s interaction with and knowledge of the natural environment is meditated by the technology that they use (in one recent article, this is referred to as the “social-technical landscape”) and the role that designers and devices play in the use of everyday items and, therefore, behaviors. A line of inquiry that USU researchers Endter-Wada, Kjelgren, and Neale are pursuing in relation to urban landscape water use is revealing that the irrigation system itself is the biggest predictor of landscape water use. Applying water to urban landscapes is a complex system involving the interaction of soil type, plant ecology, irrigation technology, and human factors that have not been well researched in the past and deserve further attention.

Development of a Laboratory Watershed Information System for the Bear River Basin

Development of a Laboratory Watershed Information System for the Bear River Basin

Status: Completed

Contact: Jeff Horsburgh

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: http://bearriverinfo.org/
http://bearriverinfo.org/projects/development-of-watershed-info-system

Subject: Watershed Information System

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quality

Abstract: An Internet based laboratory watershed information system (WIS) will be developed for the Bear River Basin. The Bear River Laboratory WIS, already partially functional at http://www.usu.edu/water/wis/, will be designed to become a central repository for data and information related to the Bear River Basin. By doing so, it will provide users with unprecedented access to data and information in the Bear River Basin, where sharing of data and information has historically been difficult due to the transboundary nature of the river and the resulting multiple regulatory jurisdictions. The Bear River Laboratory WIS will consist of a Bear River Laboratory WIS website that contains informational content, data visualization and analysis capabilities, and an interactive Internet map server with GIS capabilities. Specific tasks will include compilation of data and information for the Bear River Basin, design and construction of a central data repository database, design and construction of the Bear River Laboratory WIS website, creation of an interactive internet map server for the Bear River Basin, and the creation of data visualization and analysis tools to provide users with unprecedented access to Bear River related data. In addition, the Bear River Laboratory WIS will demonstrate many of the potential components and capabilities of a broader Hydrologic Information System (HIS), as described by the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).

Evaluating the Effects of Conservation Practices on Water Quality

Evaluating the Effects of Conservation Practices on Water Quality

Status: Current

Contact: Nancy Mesner

Funding Organization: US Department of Agriculture

Subject: Water Quality, BMP, Conservation Practices

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quality

Start Date: Friday, October 01, 2004

End Date: Sunday, September 30, 2007

Abstract: The study is designed to evaluate whether adoption of several agricultural best management practices have had a measurable impact on phosphorus loadings into the Little Bear River. A review of historical ambient water quality data suggests an aggregate decline in phosphorus loadings in the Little Bear River watershed. The use of fine-grained data from throughout this watershed will enable the determination of whether these changes are related to the implementation of management practices.

The core research objectives to be addressed by this project include:

To determine whether publicly funded programs to promote the adoption of agricultural conservation best management practices were able to reduce phosphorus loadings into surface waters in the Little Bear watershed

To critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of different water quality monitoring techniques, and

To make recommendations to policymakers, agricultural conservation field staff, and other interested parties to ensure that future management efforts are targeted towards the most effective and socioeconomically viable agricultural best management practices.

The results of this work will help future agricultural conservation programs focus on the most effective practices, and can be used to develop new protocols to increase the efficiency of water quality monitoring efforts.

Conclusions:

The effectiveness of conservation efforts in the Little Bear River Watershed (ppt)

Utah's Conservation Effectiveness Assessment Project: Taking Lessons Learned to the Next Level (poster)

Factors Affecting Native Cutthroat Trout Population Dynamics, Abundance, and Distribution in the Logan and Bear River Drainages: Comparing the Effects of Varying Degrees of Anthropogenic Impact

Factors Affecting Native Cutthroat Trout Population Dynamics, Abundance, and Distribution in the Logan and Bear River Drainages: Comparing the Effects of Varying Degrees of Anthropogenic Impact

Status: Completed

Contact: Phaedra Budy

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: http://bearriverinfo.org/projects/native-cutthroat-population

Subject: Cutthroat Trout, Logan River, Anthropogenic

Category: Research

Data Type: Biology

Abstract The Logan and Bear rivers in northern Utah and southern Idaho support a population of endemic Bonneville cutthroat trout, a species that is threatened to varying degrees by habitat degradation, hybridization, disease, and competition with non-native fishes. While the Logan River experiences some anthropogenic impacts, this system is considered relatively pristine and provides a refuge and popular fishery for cutthroat trout. In contrast, much of the Bear River is highly degraded, and fish are exposed to highly variable and frequently low flows, poor water quality, and even complete de-watering due to river management for water development; farming and grazing practices have also resulted in substantial erosion and sedimentation. The contrast between these two systems provides an ideal situation for evaluating and understanding the complex and synergistic effects of biotic and abiotic factors, anthropogenic impact, and species interactions on the distribution, abundance, and health of Bonneville cutthroat trout in the Great Basin. The overall objective of this project is to monitor and evaluate the distribution, abundance, and health of native and exotic fishes in the Bear and Logan rivers and to understand the effect that varying degrees of anthropogenic impacts on stream ecosystems has in determining fish health and population dynamics. This research will benefit from 4 years of previous monitoring and research on the Logan River, continued collaboration with the state and federal agencies as well as local fishery groups, and partial, supportive funding for the Logan River component from UDWR, a University CURI grant, and a PhD student funded, in part, by a Quinney fellowship. In addition, this research directly supports the establishment of the Bear River Laboratory Watershed, a fundamental goal of the University Water Initiative, and will provide the preliminary investigations and baseline data necessary for establishing multidisciplinary research and teaching opportunities in this new Laboratory Watershed. The goals of this research are complimentary to the hypotheses outlined by the Laboratory Watershed Committee and to EPA water quality monitoring and research proposed for the watershed.

Conclusion:

Preliminary Progress Report (January 2005)

Hydrologic Contributions from Springs on the Logan River, Utah

Hydrologic Contributions from Springs on the Logan River, Utah

Status: Completed

Contact: James Evans

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: water.engr.psu.edu/gooseff/loganriver.html

Subject: Logan river, springs

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quantity

Abstract: The Utah State University Water Initiative has proposed to establish a Laboratory Watershed in the Bear River basin. The Bear River Range is the primary recharge area for the Bear Lake and Cache Valleys, two important sub-basins. The range exhibits snowmelt-dominated flow in the shallow soil or regolith zone, and deep bedrock groundwater flow, controlled by karst and fracture/fault zones. Carbonate rocks (limestone and dolostone) are abundant in the Bear River Range, and these rocks weather by dissolution, producing many sinkholes, caves and springs. As a result, much of the water in streams entering Bear Lake and Cache Valleys originates as springs in the Bear River Range. However, little is known about the flow paths, chemical evolution, and partitioning of the amounts of each component of flow in the system. Further, the locations of the recharge areas for these springs are largely unknown.

This project will be a pilot study that will consist of a time-series of isotopic and water chemistry analyses of the Logan River above Third Dam, and at two of the largest springs that flow into the river. These springs are associated with faults and fracture zones, and likely collect water from a large portion of the range. These data will be used to try to deduce the proportion of hydrologic contribution for the springs and the chemical evolution of the ground water as it flows from these recharge areas to the springs. We will use these results as a springboard for further work to determine the rates and fluxes of water in the different parts of the system. Such data and analyses will be critical for making management decisions regarding the watershed, and will contribute to determining how climate changes might affect this portion of the Bear River watershed.

Limnological Analyses of Cutler Reservoir and Dingle Marsh with Respect to Eutrophication

Limnological Analyses of Cutler Reservoir and Dingle Marsh with Respect to Eutrophication

Website: http://works.bepress.com/wayne_wurtsbaugh/115/

Abstract: Cutler Reservoir is located in Cache county, Utah and was created for the purposes of irrigation, water storage and flood control. High nutrient loading to Cutler has raised concerns about the health of this system and has resulted in it being listed on the state's 303(d) list of impaired waters. The TMDL plan being drafted for Cutler lists dissolved oxygen and phosphorous as the key issues of concern. The underlying problem created by nutrient loading is eutrophication. If Cutler is to remain as a valuable source of recreation, wildlife habitat, and water for the Cache Valley we must understand the underlying processes that control the system.

Project Report

Motorized Use Data Project (MUD)

Motorized Use Data Project (MUD)

Status: Current

Contact: Dan miller

Web:

Subject: OHV impacts to wildlife habitat, soils and vegetation

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quality

Abstract: Project MUD trains and sends volunteers into our National Forests to document motorized impacts such as unauthorized roads, severe rutting, dispersed camping damage, and intrusions into wilderness areas. Volunteers take digital photos and GPS (Global Positioning System) waypoints, and BRWC compiles the information for agency and public use.

Radiant or Ravaged: A photo exhibit

Radiant or Ravaged: A photo exhibit

Status: Current

Contact: Dan Miller

Web:

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1375718915999265

Start Date: Friday, April 4, 2014

End Date: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Abstract: Both amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to submit photographs of the Bear River Watershed portraying the Radiant beauty or Ravaged impacts from human activities of the watershed.

The exhibit will be hung in Logan, Utah at the Thatcher-Young Mansion from April 11 - April 22, 2014.

Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring on the Logan River

Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring on the Logan River

Status: Completed

Contact: Jeff Horsburgh

Funding Organization: Utah State University

Web: https://bearriverinfo.org/watershed-data/water-quality-monitoring

Subject: Water Quality Monitoring Logan River

Category: Monitoring

Data Type: Water Quality

Abstract: A real time streamflow and water quality monitoring station will be installed in the Logan River near the USGS streamflow gauging station at the exit from Logan Canyon, UT (USGS 1019000). This station will provide continuous monitoring of streamflow (provided by the existing USGS gage), water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, specific conductance, pH, and turbidity. These data will support integrated water-related research and educational activities at USU and the Utah Water Research Laboratory (UWRL) aimed at answering the following research questions: 1) how do streamflow and water quality in the Logan River change with time on short and long-term time scales; 2) what is the relationship between streamflow in the Logan River, climate, and water quality; 3) what is the utility of water quality data that can be collected in real time in answering questions one and two; and 4) what are the challenges associated with designing, installing, operating, and maintaining real time water quality monitoring stations in support of a Laboratory Watershed?

The data collected will be incorporated with the Bear River Laboratory Watershed Information System (http://www.bearriverinfo.org) to provide users with instant access to the data via the Internet. This real time monitoring station will also serve as a model in terms of logistics, equipment, and partnerships for potential future real time monitoring stations located throughout the Bear River watershed in support of the Water Initiative's Laboratory Watershed efforts.

Restoration of Critical Spawning Habitat for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

Restoration of Critical Spawning Habitat for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout

Status: Current

Contact: Mitch Poulson

Subject: Fish Habitat, Bonneville Cutthroat

Category: Implementation

Data Type: Biology

Abstract: Fisheries Biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are working with Rich County, Utah landowner Kent Johnson and other agencies to improve fisheries habitat in Bear Lake and one of its tributaries. They will be restoring critical spawning habitat for Bonneville cutthroat trout. Fisheries habitat will be improved by excavating the historic channel and repairing sections of the current channel.

The project is located south of Rendezvous Beach on property owned by Kent Johnson. Mr. Johnson uses the property during the spring for calving prior to moving the animals to summer feeding allotments. This project benefits the landowner because the cows cross Big Creek during the spring to bear their young in areas with cover and lush grass. Newborns are often lost trying to cross the stream resulting in financial losses to his ranching operation. Moving the channel to the historic location will reduce the number of calves lost during high water flow events during spring run off.

Historically, Big Spring Creek has been used by Bonneville cutthroat trout as spawning and rearing habitat. Degraded streambanks have been linked to declining habitat conditions. Sediment from degraded streambanks has caused critical spawning gravel beds to fill with silt. Excessive concentrations of nutrients have also contributed to the degraded fisheries habitat.

The Utah Division of wildlife resources will be taking measures to improve the fishery along Big Spring Creek this summer. Existing streambank conditions are contributing to the degraded water quality. Vertical banks deposit soil material in the stream and are not stable enough to allow vegetation to establish root systems. Aerial photography suggests the historic location of the channel to be north of the existing channel.

During high flows the existing channel will act as an overflow and will similarly be rehabilitated. The Bear Lake Regional Commission will be applying treatments that enhance slope stability and reduce nutrients from entering the stream channel. Unstable streambanks will be reshaped to a more stable slope and revegetated using native willows and grasses. These treatments will improve conditions on the bare slope and prevent sediment and nutrients from adjacent lands from entering the channel.

By combining reconstruction of the historic stream channel and revegetating the existing channel, significant positive impacts on the water quality and fisheries habitat of Big Spring Creek and Bear Lake will occur. Historic spawning beds will be renewed by restoring the original channel and providing clean spawning gravels. Water quality will be improved through enhanced streamside vegetation to filter run off from adjacent land uses.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has completed similar projects on the west side of Bear Lake at Swan Creek. Habitat complexity was enhanced by creating additional pools and riffles and planting willows and river birch species at the waters edge along degraded areas.

The Bear Lake Regional Commission has been working to improve the water quality of Bear Lake by working with upstream landowners to improve streambank conditions along Thomas Fork Creek. Thomas Fork Creek is a tributary of the Bear River which flows into Bear Lake. Treatments similar to those proposed for Big Spring Creek have been implemented on Thomas Fork with great success. The Bear Lake Regional Commission has implemented over two miles of treatments to degraded streambank along Thomas Fork. These treatments are designed to improve the water quality and fisheries by restoring native vegetation and improving channel complexity.

This project will be completed through a cooperative effort between the Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Fish and Game and Bear Lake Regional Commission with significant input of time and material donated by Kent Johnson.

Stream Alterations

Stream Alterations

Status: Current

Contact: Daren Rasmussen

Web: http://www.waterrights.utah.gov/

Subject: Stream Rehabilitation, Stream Restoration, Bank Stabilization, Rivers, Riparian Preservation, Diversion Construction, Fish Habitat Structures, Bridge Construction, Culvert Installation, Utility Crossings, Road Construction, Trails

Category: Implementation

Data Type: Water Quality

Abstract: Completed, ongoing, and proposed projects that may impact natural streams and their fluvial sytem in the State of Utah are kept track of on a database accessible through the web site: www.waterrights.utah.gov. Such projects require the State Engineer's review and signature.

USEPA Targeted Watersheds Grant

USEPA Targeted Watersheds Grant

Status: Completed

Contact: Jack Barnett

Funding Organization: US Environmental Protection Agency

Web: http://bearriverinfo.org/projects/USEPA-targeted-watersheds-2004

Subject: Water quality, watershed information system, trading

Category: Research

Data Type: Water Quality

Start Date: Friday, October 01, 2004

End Date: Sunday, September 30, 2007

Abstract: A collaborative team at Utah State University, the Utah Water Reserach Laboratory, Utah Division of Water Quality, the Bear River Comission, and others participated in nominating the Bear River as a Targeted Watershed for EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grants Program. This study, which will be funded for three years starting Fall of 2004, will implement studies in the tri-state Bear River basin to develop and demonstrate: 1) an integrated Watershed Information System to facilitate data collection, data analysis, information transfer, and public outreach; 2) a water quality trading program to allow point and nonpoint pollutant sources to trade water quality credits; and 3) dynamic water quality modeling to support water quality trading and analysis of potential water quality management scenarios. The research team believes that water quality will be improved through an integrative holistic perspective on the watershed facilitated by the integrated Watershed Information System, and that trading will promote the most economically beneficial solutions to water quality problems within the geographic constraints and physical connectivity of the river basin and stream network.

iUtah, Biophysical Ecohydrologic System Work Plan

Biophysical Ecohydrologic System Work Plan iUtah

Status: Current

Website: http://iutahepscor.org/research-focus/biophysical.html

Abstract: We will construct and operate an ecohydrologic observatory called GAMUT, which stands for Gradients Along Mountain to Urban Transitions. GAMUT will measure aspects of water inputs, outputs, and quality along a mountain-to-urban gradient in three watersheds that share common water sources (winter-derived precipitation) but differ in the human and biophysical nature of land-use transitions. GAMUT will allow for real-time monitoring of common meteorological variables, snow accumulation and melt, soil moisture, surface water flow, and surface water quality. Once GAMUT is functioning, research activities will be phased in to address our research questions. We recognize that GAMUT will not allow us to close the water balance in any one watershed; thus, our goal is to provide a sorely needed infrastructure platform to make Utah more successful in future large competitions for research funds.

Year 1 Goals:
Goal 1: Enhance Utah’s capacity to monitor ecohydrologic processes in the WRMA
Goal 2: Enhance Utah’s capacity to understand ecohydrologic processes in the WRMA

iUtah, Coupled Human-Natural System

Coupled Human-Natural System iUtah

Status: Current

Wesite: http://iutahepscor.org/research-focus/coupled-human.html

Abstract: Activities in this focus area will draw on data and results from Focus Areas 1 and 2 as well as other ongoing work to study the linkages between the natural and human engineered water system. We will focus on activities that create centralized datasets across the social and natural sciences, coupled modeling activities, model-data comparisons, and model and data visualization for a variety of audiences.

Year 1 Goals:
Objective 1: Define and scope the coupled water system
Objective 2: Create data inventory
Objective 3: Create model inventory
Objective 4: Link data to models
Objective 5: Build collaborative relationships across campuses

iUtah, Social and Engineered Water Systems Work Plan

Social and Engineered Water Systems Work Plan iUtah

Status: Current

Website: http://iutahepscor.org/research-focus/social.html

Abstract: We will gather systematic data on the built environment, water use behaviors and decisions, and institutional contexts across the larger WRMA, with particular focus and depth on areas within the three watershed observatories. We will coordinate with Focus Area 1 and Focus Area 3 to link social and engineering systems data to indicators of biophysical drivers and outcomes in coupled systems models. By collaborating with water system stakeholders and decision-makers, we want to ensure our data and models are realistic and useful to end users.

Year 1 Goals:
Goal 1: Ensure our research activities produce data relevant to decision-makers
Goal 2: Improve capacity of Utah scientists to study human dimensions of water systems
Goal 3: Ensure new social and engineering data can answer research questions
Goal 4: Improve our capacity to collect intensive data about water use and water decision-making
Goal 5: Improve our knowledge of the built water infrastructure in our study sites
Goal 6: Improve our capacity to model water system outcomes related to built infrastructure

Little Bear, CEAP Project

CEAP Project Little Bear

Website: http://extension.usu.edu/waterquality/htm/wqlinks/ceap-project-little-bear

Abstract: The study is designed to evaluate whether adoption of several agricultural best management practices have had a measurable impact on phosphorus loadings into the Little Bear River. A review of historical ambient water quality data suggests an aggregate decline in phosphorus loadings in the Little Bear River watershed. The use of fine-grained data from throughout this watershed will enable the determination of whether these changes are related to the implementation of management practices.

Wyoming, Bear River Sediment TMDL

Bear River Sediment TMDL Wyoming

Status: Current

Contact: David Waterstreet

Web: upper bear river TMDL (pdf)
http://deq.state.wy.us/wqd/watershed/TMDL/TMDL.htm

Abstract: The Bear Rive in Uinta County, Wyoming is listed as impaired for sediment on the State of Wyoming's 303(d) list from Woodruff Narrows Reservoir upstream to the confluence with Sulphur Creek. A total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) project was initiated in November of 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in September of 2014. The project has gathered existing data, conducted additional fieldwork, and utilized a Technical Advisory Committee made up of local stakeholders to understand the underlying causes of excessive sediment found in the river system and to calculate the existing sediment load. Based on Chapter 1 of Wyoming's Water Quality Rules and Regulations, a water quality target will be selected that is protective of the Bear River's cold water fishery designated use which is currently impaired due to excessive sediment. An implementation plan will be prepared to guide implementation actions within the watershed to reduce sediment loads to the river and facilitate achievement of the water quality target. A TMDL report will be written to document the project and to establish the TMDL. Public participation is appreciated and welcomed.