Beaver Creek Watershed - Site Administration and Facilities
Primary and ultimate responsibility and authority for administering the
Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed on this federal property was, by law,
the Chief of the USDA Forest Service who in turn delegates authority to
the Director of the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
(RMFRES), now the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
Because this land was (prior to the establishment of the BCEW) and still
is part of the Coconino National Forest (administered by the Forest Supervisor,
District Rangers, and Regional Forester), certain responsibilities such
as administering timber sales, construction and maintenance of roads,
and fire protection were retained by the Coconino National Forest. National
forest personnel installed the many measuring structures and devices required,
carried out the land treatment prescriptions, and performed protection
and management functions. Close cooperation between administrative and
research activities was required at all times.
Acknowledging the above responsibilities, the Forest Service shared in
the management of long-term watershed management research at Beaver Creek
with research institutions, recognizing the need for all parties to commit
funds, personnel, and equipment to attain common long-term objectives
in research and education.
Principal investigators representing the USDA Forest Service, Colorado
State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona,
Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the USDI Geological Survey were
involved. The Geological Survey installed and read certain stream gages,
the Arizona Game and Fish Department evaluated the effect of treatments
on wildlife and habitat, and research by universities complimented the
efforts of the RMFRES. In addition, the advice and support of other interests
groups, including the Salt River Project, the Soil Conservation Districts,
cattlegrowers, lumbermen, and others was available. These groups and agencies
were responsible for the planning, direction and management of the research
programs at the BCEW. General supervision of the BCEW was under the Forest
Service principal investigator, the Project Leader, as delegated by the
Director of the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station.
One of the most important interest group was the Arizona Water Resources
Committee (AWRC), a committee that included civic minded, thoughtful representatives
of practically every group interested in public land management. This
group worked closely with the Supervisor of the Coconino National Forest,
the Regional Forester of Forest Service Region 3, and the Director of
the RMFRES in an advisory and supporting capacity. The AWRC also played
an important role in obtaining funding for much of the work accomplished
by the Beaver Creek Project.
Fox, K. M., Ffolliott, P. F., Baker, Jr., M. B. and Debano, L. F. 2000.
More water for Arizona: A history of the Arizona Watershed Program and
the Arizona Water Resource Committee.
The Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed consists of a 111,375 ha (275,000
ac) watershed in the Coconino National Forest that was established in
1956. There are numerous cindered roads within the watershed, which are
maintained by the Coconino National Forest. Snow was normally removed
from these roads during the active stage of the project, but currently
winter access is restricted to the 10 miles of paved road off of I-17
at the Stoneman Lake interchange.
Prior to termination of the project in 1983, access to major research
installations such as five weather stations (air temperature, humidity,
and precipitation) , over 60 precipitation stations, and 40 gaged watersheds
was by both cindered and non-cindered roads which were generally passable
all year long (see maps). This road system along with the numerous logging
roads within the watershed made the area very attractive to campers, hikers,
and hunters. Generally, the precipitation stations were located at the
lower and upper elevations in the experimental watersheds and have a density
of about one station per ha.
The USDA Forest Service operated a year-round office/shop building on
the Beaver Creek Experimental Watershed. A trailer provided living quarters
for a technician who worked 10 days on and 4 days off. This provided at
least one person on the watershed during the week and for most weekends.
At least three other technicians lived within commuting distance of the
watershed and were able to get to it within an hour of traveling time.
Most gages were visited at a minimum of once a week and more often during
the active runoff period, which could occur almost anytime during the
winter season (October through April).