Valles Caldera Project

Confluence of Rio Guadalupe and Rio Jemez in New Mexico. Photo by L. Crossey.

Long-term dynamics of stream hydrology and water quality in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. 2018-2023.
Funding: NPS

Project Description: Crossey’s research team, in collaboration with the Valles Caldera National Preserve (VALL) and the USFS Santa Fe National Forest, conducts hydrologic monitoring of streamwater discharge and water quality as part of the landscape restoration activities underway in the Jemez River watershed. Forest restoration activities (thinning and prescribed fires) and wildfires change the structure of forested watersheds, influencing the quantity and quality of streamwater that supports aquatic ecosystems and sport fisheries. As part of the restoration program, multi-organizational monitoring provides data for assessment of project objectives and achievement of desired conditions. With this study, we are generating information on the amounts of stream discharge being generated in restored watersheds and transported downstream to communities and farm/ranchlands, along with data on improved water quality. These results, in turn, will be applied to concomitant monitoring of fisheries, aquatic invertebrates, stream channel geomorphology, and ecosystem productivity. The project trains graduate students and several undergraduates. Results of the project will be disseminated to water management agencies, the scientific community, and the public via public presentations and scientific publications. Water production data will be incorporated into socio-economic analyses to assess the financial impact of restoration on ecosystem services, job creation, and resource economic values to society.