Willow Creek Watershed

Key elements of the demonstration watershed

Geological framework investigations are designed to understand the sedimentologic and hydrogeologic characteristics of the unconsolidated basin fill. These investigations consist of field mapping of surface exposures, analyses of drill cores and field determination of aquifer properties, such as hydraulic conductivity and storativity, and non-invasive geophysical surveys. Several IU graduate students have accomplished some of this work as part of their theses.

Hydrologic monitoring involves deployment of electronic instruments for continuous measurements of water levels in aquifers, stream stages, micrometeorological conditions (such as wind profiles, humidity and temperature gradients, solar and terrestrial radiation, etc.), and snowmelt. Sally Letsinger’s IU Ph.D. work consisted of installation of many such instruments, and developing the data-handling capabilites necessary to study their data. Descriptions of individual instrumented sites are accessible from the Willow Creek Demonstration Watershed map.

Computer modelling implements algorithms for simulating snowmelt in rugged terrain, streamflow routing, and groundwater flow in heterogeneous porous media.

Other studies have developed from teaching projects. Examples include stream assessments, the study of snow geochemistry to investigate possible relationships with orography or mountain geometry, and ranchers’ needs.

Daily stream report

Daily stream flow reports are only available during the “water year,” April 1 to October 1. The sensors are removed from the stream gauges during winter to prevent freezing.