About the Project

Land Management Treatments

Vegetation and Fuels

Soils and Biogeochemistry

Water Runoff and Erosion

Birds and Insects


Human Perspectives

Climate Change Connection

Weather Stations

SageSTEP Team Members

SageSTEP Partners

Water Runoff and Erosion

We are evaluating the relationships between changes in the plant community and ground cover and water runoff and erosion processes. Emphasis is placed on determining if critical thresholds exist in vegetation and ground cover that significantly influence runoff and erosion and how land management treatments may influence such thresholds. This work is focused on the pinyon-juniper zone due to limited understanding of hydrologic processes and the hydrologic effects of tree removal treatments in this cover type. Data are being collected at three of the SageSTEP study sites: Onaqui, Marking Corral, and Castlehead.

Water runoff and erosion research objectives are as follows:
Large plot rainfall simulation at Onaqui study site
Large plot rainfall simulation at the Onaqui
Researcher looks at a rain gauge after a rainfall simulation
Researcher checks a rain gauge after a simulation
Small plot interspace
Measuring runoff in a small plot interspace
Releasing water for rill flow experiment
Releasing water during a rill flow experiment
Measuring runoff
Measuring rill depth during a rill flow experiment

Data are being collected from small- (0.5 m2) and large-plot (13m2) artificial rainfall simulations and concentrated flow experiments. Pre-treatment data were collected in the summer of 2006 at the Onaqui and Marking Corral sites, and prescribed burning and mechanical treatments were implemented in the fall of 2006. Post-treatment data were collected from 2007-2009. Post-treatment data were collected on control, cut tree, and burn plots at the Castlehead site in 2008 ans 2009. Pre-treatment data collection at Castlehead became unattainable due to a wildfire that passed through the site.

Publications and poster presentations resulting from the water runoff and erosion research can be found on our SageSTEP Publications page.

Results of this research can be viewed in PowerPoint presentations with audio using the following links:

An related study, Soil and hydrologic response to mastication of juniper woodlands, was conducted in collaboration with SageSTEP hydrologists. Click here to view more information on this collaborative study.