Former graduate student Nicoleta Cristea is downscaling future climate models to assess climate change impacts to the hydrology of the meadows. Graduate student Courtney Moore is using fieldwork and Hec-RAS modeling to assess how channel restoration techniques could be used to increase stream water levels and help groundwater dependent ecosystems combat climate change.

Our work:

We are currently working with Dr. Steve Loheide at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on an NSF-sponsored project examing how meadow ecology is likely to change with response to climate and snowmelt shifts. Meadow vegetation depends critically on groundwater levels, which are highly correlated with snowmelt patterns and the hydrology of small, tributary streams. Here, we are using a distributed network of 80 groundwater wells, 3 soil moisture arrays, 15 stream gages, 5 snow pillow weather stations, and 50 temperature sensors, combined with LIDAR and MODIS remote sensing, to develop models that can predict how inflow to the meadow will affect stream levels, groundwater levels, and meadow communities in a warmer climate. This will be used to guide park decisions on where meadow restoration efforts will be most effective.

Publications related to this project include