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Catalog of Long Term Research Conducted by the Northeastern Research Station

Catalog #78

Water Yield Costs of Planting Abandoned Land on the Baltimore Municipal Watershed
1) To evaluate the cost to a municipality of reduced water yield from reforesting abandoned land. 
2) To quantify the hydrologic impacts of forest management techniques applied during the development of planted stands.
1958
1993
Three experimental watersheds ranging in size from 22 acres to 38 acres are located northwest of Baltimore near Finksburg in Maryland's piedmont region of hilly topography. The area is approximately 39 deg 27 min 29 sec N.Lat. and 76 deg 53 min 30 sec W.Long.. Deer Park Road cuts across the top of watershed no. 1 near a power line tower. Percent of precipitation that leaves the watersheds as surface streamflow is considerably less than from small mountainous watersheds in the east, especially in the dormant season.

Soils of the Manor series predominate on the watersheds and range from silt loam and gravelly loams and are somewhat excessively drained. Depth to bedrock is 6-20+feet. Soils have moderate to high available moisture capacity and are highly susceptible to erosion. Glenelg series are second in importance. Delanco series (moderately well-drained) exist along the stream channels.

Watershed 1 & 2 were formerly open grassland reforested in 1955-56 with loblolly and white pines.

Watershed 3 is a mixed hardwood stand.

3 watersheds 22 to 38 acres in area. Paired watershed analysis; single watershed calibration.
100%
Watershed 1 treatments: 
1) Reforestation: vegetation change from open to forest via loblolly and white pine plantings during 1955-56. 
2) Vegetation Removal: vegetation was cut in particular areas according to the following schedule.
Years after
planting:
Treatment:
10
Hardwood vegetation along the main and secondary channels cut back from streams a distance of 30 to 125 feet. 
11
Mechanical removal of stumps. Cut area seeded with grass.
12 
Grass cover in riparian area mowed.
13
Pine plantation thinned except for 10% of stand on upper end of watershed. Every other row was removed, producing 165 cords of wood. Stand not opened up greatly due to closeness to original planting. 
Grass cover in riparian area mowed. 
14
Grass cover in riparian area mowed.
15
Remainder of pine plantation thinned by removing every other row. 
Remaining hardwoods along the fringe of the riparian zone were cut.
Grass cover in riparian area mowed. 

Watershed 2 was the control watershed - no treatments applied.

Watershed 3 contains a stand of mixed hardwoods. Streamflow measurements terminated in 1976. Portions of watershed 3 streamflow data are questionable due to leakage around gaging station. No treatments were applied.

Streamflow is measured by a 120 degree, v-notch weir.
Precipitation indices were made to predict water yield from watershed if trees were not planted. Correlations were made between predicted and measured streamflow to quantify the effects of reforestation. Differences between the streamflow reductions on the two watersheds were used as estimates of the treatment effects on watershed 1. Streamflow relationships between control and watershed 1 during a 5-year period (1958-1962) were used to develop equations for predicting the streamflow of watershed 1 from the measured streamflow at watershed 2. After modifying the vegetation cover, differences between predicted and measured streamflow for watershed 1 were used to quantify vegetation treatment effects on water yield.
streamflow (CFS,CSM, inches) 
air temperature(degrees F) 
relative humidity (%)
precipitation in amount (inches) & intensity 
streamwater temperature (degrees F) 
streamwater turbidity (NTU): 1958 to 1993, instrument charts changed weekly. Data are summarized by month and year.
Supervisor checks instrument calibrations periodically and spot checks compilation and summarization of data by statistical assistant. Water balance calculations are also used.
paper (4 file cabinet drawers), streamflow readings on computer tape.
Studies of Ecosystem Processes
1995
E.S. Corbett & W. Spencer. 1975. Effects of management practices on water quality and quantity: Baltimore MD. In: Proceeding, West Virginia municipal watershed management Symposium. 1973 September 11-12. Gen. Tech. Rpt. NE-13. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 25-31.

Corbett, E.S.; Lynch, J.A. 1985. Management of streamside zones on municipal watersheds. In: Riparian ecosystems and their management: reconciling conflicting uses. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-120. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 187-190.

Richard Birdsey, USDA Forest Service, 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200, Newtown Square, PA 19073. (610) 557-4091.
Bureau of Water Supply, City of Baltimore, MD.

 

  

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