Aquatic Systems of. Sonoran Deserts

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1 Aquatic Systems of the Chihuahuan h and Sonoran Deserts Kirsten Gallo Chihuahuan Desert Network

2 Objectives Conceptual models describing components of aquatic ecosystems, threats, and responses to climate change CHDN and SODN Vital Signs and Monitoring Gaps

3 Scope Setting the Stage Includesrivers rivers, streams, washes, springs, seeps, tinajas, wetlands, hanging gardens, oases NOT reservoirs or playas Assumption: Climate change in Desert LCC will Increase temperature Decrease amount of precipitation Change timing of precipitation

4

5 A Little Uncertainty Variability in climate models Lack of regional information Anthropomorphic hi influences Responses are complex and unpredictable

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7

8

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10 Winter survival of redbellied piranha From Rahel and Olden Cons. Biol.

11 What does it all mean? Higher water temperature Salination Increased floods Increased droughts Increased fire Change in species competitive ability Invasive spp. Irregular flows Increased erosion Species shifts and loss of biodiversity Lower habitat quality

12 Globally, the negative impacts of future reclimate change on freshwater systems are expected to outweigh the benefits (high confidence). IPCC 2007

13 Climate induced changes must be assessed in the context of massive anthropogenic changes in water quantity and quality resulting from altered patterns of land use, water withdrawal, and species invasion: these may dwarf or exacerbate climate induced changes. Meyer et al JAWRA

14 In our corner Systems are flashy and prone to disturbance Systems are resilient Floods can have positive ii effects

15 Current Monitoring Protocols Streams applied differently in SODN and CHDN Washes SODN only Seeps, Springs, Tinajas Same in SODN and CHDN Groundwater Same in SODN and CHDN

16 Streams Monitoring Goal: detect broad scale changes in aquatic and riparianecological condition by observing selected ecological drivers, stressors and processes. Objective: determine status and long term trends in: Channel morphology Riparian vegetation Water quality Water quantity Benthic macroinvertebrates Fish Status: Implemented in SODN

17 Washes Monitoring Important indicator of watershed condition, and integrates processes such as soil erosion, nutrient cycles, occurrence andmagnitude of disturbance events, surface and groundwater quantity and quality, and abundance and distribution of riparian obligate species Objective: determine status and trends in: Channel morphology Riparian vegetation Water quantity Status: Implemented in SODN on washes associated with primary drainages

18 Seeps, Springs, Tinajas Monitoring Goal: detect changes in condition by observing selected ecological ldi drivers, stressors and processes. Objective: determine status and long term trends in: Channel morphology Riparian vegetation Water quality Water quantity Benthic macroinvertebrates Fish Status: To be implemented in CHDN and SODN in 2011

19 Groundwater Monitoring Goal: Identify local and broad scale changes in groundwater quantity Objectives: Monitor water table elevations to detect long term changes in groundwater levels Provide dt data to hl help understand dwater balance dynamics, including relationships between groundwater and surface water resources, biota and climate Provide data to support larger scale water balance efforts by other agencies Document water level elevations to support legal protection ofthe resource Implemented in SODN, to be implemented in CHDN in 2011

20 Channel morphology For linear or flowing features: Current Monitoring Cross sectional sectional area, sinuosity, channel slope, and sediment size distribution For pool or standing features: Spring orifice and basin morphometrics and sediment size distribution

21 Current Monitoring Water quality Daily, seasonal, and annual core water quality parameters (temperature, specific conductivity, ph, dissolved oxygen, turbidity) Seasonal and annual total nitrogen, total phosphorus, h selected metals and E. coli (when possible) Measured in all aquatic systems

22 Water quantity Current Monitoring Seasonal and annual base flow conditions Frequency, magnitude, and duration of low flow and flood events Extent of wet and dry areas Measured in all aquatic systems

23 Current Monitoring Benthic macroinvertebrates Abundance of selected taxa and community structure Selected multimetric indicators of biotic integrity Fish Fish community on local and regional scale (SODN only)

24 Current Monitoring Riparian vegetation Cover of dominant and common perennial riparian species Frequency of uncommon perennial species and selected invasive species Measured in all aquatic systems

25 Connecting Monitoring with Threats Vital Sign Channel Morphology Water Quality Water Quantity RiparianVegetation Macroinvertebrates Fish Threat Flood, Fire, Invasives Salination, Temperature Drought, Flood Drought, Fire, Invasives All All

26 ???

27 Gaps Frequency can t get there often enough Sample size we can t sample enough Scale some effects occur at scale beyond park or network Species

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29 Sycamore Creek LTER site, AZ. From Stanley et al BioScience

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