Stream Flow Enhancement
Thanks to funding from California’s Wildlife Conservation Board, Pepperwood is conducting a streamflow enhancement project. We are testing the hypothesis that forest thinning may increase water yield by using a paired watershed approach. We will compare the amount of water in the air, in the ground, and in our streams in a treated versus an untreated watershed. This study, investigating the relationships between forest stewardship and watershed response, is the first of its kind in our region.
The work we are doing at Pepperwood (and at a partner site in the Northern Sierras) is filling critical data gaps by providing some of the first empirical measurements of the “exhalation” of the land – fluxes of gases including water vapor and carbon dioxide – in Northern California. We will combine these measurements with those that quantify the water in our soil and in our streams to see whether our prescription of forest thinning – wherein we remove all trees less than ten inches in trunk diameter at breast height throughout a given area – results in more water made available to the ecosystem.