Fire habitat Salmon River

Fire Impact on Sediment Transport

Our research project focuses on effects of climate change and fire on sediment transport and aquatic habitat on South Fork of Salmon River basin. Climate change will alter the temperature and precipitation patterns in Idaho’s forested watersheds. This project analyzes a range of climate change scenarios within Idaho. Specially, increasing temperature in summer months can result in increased fire severity. After a wildfire, erosion and mass wasting processes often increase and alter the sediment supply to the streams. Intense rainfall and extreme floods may also be expected. This project aims to understand the effects of climate change and forest fire on sediment transport. We will use a one dimensional sediment routing model combined with different climate change and fire scenarios in mountainous streams. The model will be used to determine the impact of climate change and fire on sediment transport rates, water quality and aquatic habitat. The research results could be used for forest watershed management and by stream ecologists to assess the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems.

Methods:
  • Develop climate change driven 1D sediment transport model
  • Measure hydrology (Flow velocity/ flow depth) and bed properties (width/slope/ grain size/ step size/ boulder size)
  • Monitor suspended and bedload sediment transport
  • Calculate hillslope contributions to the channel
Study site:
  • Tributaries of South Fork of Salmon River
Funding Agency:
  • NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program