Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 42-2
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


SHANLEY, James B., U.S. Geological Survey, Montpelier, VT 05602 and CHALMERS, Ann T., US Geological Survey, PO Box 628, Montpelier, VT 05602

Long-term catchment studies are sentinel sites for detecting, documenting, and understanding environmental change. The small watershed approach fosters hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological process understanding at a site, while a collective network of catchment observatories offers a broader context to synthesize understanding across a range of climates and geologies. Sleepers River Research Watershed is part of the USGS Water, Energy, and Biogeochemical Budgets (WEBB) program, a network of five sites established in 1991 to assess the impact of climate and environmental change on hydrology and biogeochemistry. Like other networks, such as the U.S. Forest Service Experimental Forests and the Czech Geomon network, WEBB utilizes gradients of climate, geology, topography, and atmospheric deposition to understand controls on biogeochemical processes. SRRW has generated many place-based findings, but has always sought to contextualize results within the broader WEBB, and other national and international networks. SRRW has stretched lean federal dollars through strong academic partnerships, providing long-term datasets and cumulative process understanding for shorter-term academic grants to build on. We present examples of how findings at SRRW and follow-on cross-site syntheses have advanced catchment science and informed resource management and policy. In the current era of declining budgets for science, it is especially important to support and sustain research watershed programs for their scientific value and societal benefits.