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SFS Annual Meeting

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CREATING A DRYNESS INDEX FOR NON-PERENNIAL RIVERS

Non-perennial rivers and streams (NPRS) are found globally and are becoming more prevalent due to human land use and climate change. NPRS play a key role in overall watershed health and serve as habitat for many organisms. One important aspect for NPRS is the level of dryness that ranges from flowing most of the time to seldom flowing. The current classification is characterized into two groups, “intermittent” and “ephemeral”, which is a rudimentary distinction. Developing a continuous index of dryness should better characterize this important aspect. We analyzed a ten-year data set consisting of annual maps of dry and wet stream segments and gage data from the Santa Lucia Conservancy in Carmel, California. We calculated the proportion of dry and wet segments. We compared the amount of spatial drying occurring in each stream to temporal gage data to determine if they are related. We ultimately would like to produce a dryness index that reflects both spatial and temporal aspects of dry streams. If this index proves generally applicable, it will help the scientific community to better understand and evaluate how the amount of dryness in these systems affects ecosystem processes.

Emma Haines (Primary Presenter/Author), California State University Monterey Bay, ehaines@csumb.edu;


John Olson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), School of Natural Sciences, California State University Monterey Bay, CA, USA, joolson@csumb.edu;