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Arbutus Watershed: Biogeochemistry & Hydrology

Project Description

The Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) is a regional campus, owned by the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). The property is located in the central Adirondack Mountains in New York State, and is operated by the Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC).

Biogeochemical and hydrological processes have been evaluated at the Huntington Wildlife Forest since 1975. Past and recent research investigations include sulfur cycling, nitrogen cycling, acidic deposition, climate change, and winter processes. Current activities in the Adirondacks include extensive research on the Arbutus Lake Watershed, at the HWF.

The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with Syracuse University, Plymouth State University, U.S. Forest Service, and SUNY-ESF has deployed logging optical sensors at the Arbutus Inlet gaging station. One real-time plot displayed on this page is the fluorescence of dissolved organic matter (FDOM). Fluorescence occurs when organic matter excited by energy at one wavelength emits energy at a different wavelength. The excitation and emission wavelengths of this fluorometer (Ex. 370, Em. 460) are designed to detect the humic fraction of dissolved organic matter. Note how FDOM tracks stream discharge; higher flows mobilize greater proportions of this humic or aromatic organic carbon from shallow soils. We are using FDOM as a proxy for dissolved mercury. Some mercury in streams is in particulate form, and we are using turbidity as a proxy for particulate mercury. Collecting these proxy measurements for one full year (through September 2009) will allow an accurate calculation of annual mercury flux in the Inlet stream.

Click here for carbon and mercury monitoring data

The Arbutus Lake Watershed is instrumented extensively. There are gaging stations that continuously monitor stream discharge at the major inlet (Archer Creek) and outlet of Arbutus Lake, as well as two streams draining two small subcatchments in the upper Archer Creek Watershed. Data are recorded at various locations in the Archer Creek watershed including meteorological measurements at the Ackerman Clearing Tower, and water temperature and ground water heights at six ground water wells. A wireless data transmission network has been installed for real-time data access.

Arbutus Lake Outlet - Realtime Camera Picture