USU Researchers Study Streams And Climate In The West
In only a few minutes drive along 400 North in Logan traffic leads to a canyon where a tree-lined river is ever changing. They're morphing.
There's a group of researchers from Utah State University studying the restoration of streams and waterways. Nate Hough-Snee is a doctoral student at Utah State University, working with the group.
"So this is a pretty representative stretch of the Logan River between the dams where we have a couple things at play. We have a road, a trail...." he said. "So if we look around, aside from a couple things on this middle island here, we don't see a lot of really small trees. And over time, what we'd expect to see, is this forest to kind of cave in on itself and not necessarily be able to reproduce. So the implications of this are, we might start to see heating, we might start to see a loss of bugs and other things that fall in and create part of the food web, as well nutrient inputs that feed algae like we see, paraphyte ingrowth in the water itself. So this is not in particularly bad shape, but we know it's going to experience some changes and it has experienced some changes already."
Hough-Snee and the USU team of researchers will use an $84-thousand grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to study how riparian vegetation communities in the west are responding to multiple environmental factors, including climate change. They're trying to figure out how these streams have been changed over time by climate, while at the same time grazing, logging and road development may have impacted the streams ecosystem.