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Pacific Northwest Research Station

 
 
 
Pacific Northwest Research Station
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Portland, OR 97204

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Coyote Creek Gauge Stations Reconstruction

Employing people and infusing the economy while accomplishing planned work are the hallmarks of the Coyote Creek gauge stations reconstruction project on the South Umpqua Experimental Forest. This infrastructure improvement project is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and is a partnership between the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station and the Umpqua National Forest.

The project dates back to 1963 when four stream gauging stations were built on Coyote Creek in the South Umpqua Experimental Forest, Tiller Ranger District. The gauges were installed to measure the effects of different timber harvest and road construction techniques on water quality and flow levels. The region contains high-quality salmon habitat, and information about the effects of forest management on year-round stream conditions is critical for maintaining healthy populations of culturally and economically valuable salmonids.

The PNW Station’s Corvallis Forestry Sciences Lab maintained the stations until 1980 when operations ended owing to a lack of funds. The project was reopened by the Umpqua National Forest in 2001 when a new suite of studies was envisioned to focus on the ability of contemporary forest treatments to meet current forest health objectives. The new Coyote Creek Experimental Watersheds research project has the added bonus of being able to compare results from the old project with the results from the same forest streams, now 30 years later.

The original gauging stations at Coyote Creek deteriorated and became unsafe over time. On July 21, 2009, the Umpqua National Forest and the PNW Research Station received approval to use $350,000 of economic recovery funding to reconstruct the Coyote Creek gauging stations.

All of the work on the new stream gauge houses was contracted out to local workers, creating about 2.575 full-time-equivalents of employment for an estimated 10 individuals during the summer of 2010. The crews removed the old, dilapidated gauge houses and piping, laid new concrete slabs around the wells, and built larger housing structures to protect gauging equipment from the hazards of the environment. By the beginning of September 2010, the reconstruction was essentially completed.

The experimental watersheds research incites deep interest and passion from those involved, like Mikeal Jones, lead hydrologist for the Umpqua National Forest, and Craig Creel, experimental forest facilities manager for the PNW Station’s Forest Landscapes and Ecosystems Team. Jones and Creel are adamant about keeping the project running over the long term.

“We have learned so much from this research. We have used it hundreds of times for lots of things that we never imagined that we would,” said Jones while visiting the project during construction. “Somebody had the foresight to do that. That is our job now, to do that for people 50 years from now.”

Creel adds, “We are in it for the long term here at the research station. We’ve run these stream gauging stations since the 50’s and it is my intention to keep that going as long as possible.”

With the new gauging stations in place, both the PNW Research Station and the Umpqua National Forest should be able to continue to provide science for improving the way we manage our forests and streams for another 50 years.

These photos shows the dilapidated, unsafe stream gauge station on Coyote Creek in the South Umpqua Experimental Forest, and the new, solar-powered version


This photo shows the dilapidated, unsafe stream gauge station on Coyote Creek in the South Umpqua Experimental Forest.


This photo shows the new, reconstructed gauge station on Coyote Creek in the South Umpqua Experimental Forest.


US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Tuesday,18November2014 at11:48:54CST


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