Climate/Hydrology

Climate/Hydrology

PBG12 Konza Stream Geomorphology in the Patch-Burn Grazing experiment at Konza Prairie

Abstract: 

PBG datasets are associated with a long-term, large-scale study that is addressing the effects of fire-grazing interactions in the context of a Patch-Burn Grazing management system designed to promote grassland heterogeneity. Effects of patch-burn grazing management on plant and animal diversity and the nature and variety of wildlife habitat are being assessed in two replicate management units, each consisting of three pastures (watersheds) designated C03A/C03B/C03C and C3SA/C3SB/C3SC. In each patch-burn grazing unit, one watershed is burned and two that are left unburned in a given year. The burning treatments are rotated annually so that each pasture is burned every third year. Each patch-burn grazing unit is paired with an annually-burned pasture for comparison with traditional grazing systems (C01A and C1SB). All grazing units are stocked with cow/calf pairs from approximately 1 May until 1 Oct at a stocking density equal to 3.2 ha per cow/calf. To examine the impact of patch burning and grazing in all 8 units, we monitor changes in plant species composition, residual biomass, grassland bird populations, insect populations, small mammal populations, soil nutrients, and stream water quality1 (1C3SA/C3SB/C3SC unit only). The KSU Department of Animal Science monitors cattle performance, including weight gain and body condition to assess the economic feasibility of using patch-burn management on a widespread basis. This data set focuses on measuring Cattle grazing direct influence on stream morphology due to their summer grazing habits. Cattle graze near riparian vegetation due to water and food availability. Experimental grazing treatments at the Konza Prairie LTER represent an excellent opportunity to study stream channel response to grazing impacts. Seventeen watersheds were evaluated in a paired watershed geomorphological assessment, with 4 grazed by native bison, 5 grazed by cattle, and 8 ungrazed watersheds, to enable cross-watershed comparative analysis to quantify how stream morphology vary between ungrazed, cattle-grazed and bison-grazed watersheds.

Data set ID: 

126

Core Areas: 

Short name: 

PBG12

Purpose: 

Cattle grazing is a common land management practice throughout the United States and very prevalent in native remnants of Great Plains prairie grasslands. Cattle have a direct influence on stream morphology due to their summer grazing habits. Cattle graze near riparian vegetation due to water and food availability. Experimental grazing treatments at the Konza Prairie LTER represent an excellent opportunity to study stream channel response to grazing impacts. Seventeen watersheds were evaluated in a paired watershed geomorphological assessment, with 4 grazed by native bison, 5 grazed by cattle, and 8 ungrazed watersheds, to enable cross-watershed comparative analysis to quantify how do stream morphology vary between ungrazed, cattle-grazed and bison-grazed watersheds.

Methods: 

Frequency of Sampling: Annually

Variable Measured:  Channel geometry (width (m), depth (cm), width:depth (unitless)

Methods: Channel geometry is measured by establishing ten permanently monumented cross sections and topographically surveying with a surveyor’s level and leveling rod at 15.24 cm (6 inch) spatial resolution. Active channel width is defined as the distance from the top of the lower bank to the equivalent elevation on the adjacent bank. Top of bank is identified by a break in slope along with sediment deposits and changes to perennial vegetation. The depth value is calculated by averaging the elevations along the width with the lower bank top used as a reference elevation of 0.

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