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Huntington Forest Research Hydrobiogeochemistry

Biogeochemical and Hydrological Research at the Huntington Forest

The 6,000 ha Huntington Forest (HF) is located in the Town of Newcomb, western Essex County and in the Town of Long Lake, eastern Hamilton County, New York (latitude 44 00° N, longitude 74 13° W). The HF lies near the geographic center of the Adirondack Park and is within the Hudson River drainage. The topography is mountainous and elevations range from 457 m to 823 m. Vegetation consists of northern hardwoods (72%), mixed hardwood-conifer (18%), and conifer (10%). The property also contains five lakes: Catlin (area = 217 ha; max. depth = 17m), rich (160 ha; 18 m), Wolf (58 ha; 14 m), Arbutus (49 ha; 8 m) and Deer (38 ha; 3 m). the HF is part of the Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC). It is also a participant in the Northeast Ecosystem Research Cooperative (NERC).

Upper slopes are dominated by Fagus grandifolia and Acer saccharum. Overstory vegetation at lower elevations is characterized by Tsuga canadensis, Picea rubens and scattered individuals of Abies balsamea. Upland watershed soils are generally <1 m in depth and include Becket-Mundal series sandy loams (coarse-loamy, mixed, frigid typic Haplorthods) white Greenwood Mucky peats are found in valley bottom wetlands. Groundwater occurs predominantly in deep near-stream peats (1-3 m depth), pockets of glacial till in valley-bottoms (0-2 m) and limited zones of glacial outwash deposits.

The HF has participated in the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) and the National Trends Network (NTN) since October 31, 1978. The HF has also been part of the Mercury Deposition Network (MDN) since December 10, 1999. the HF has also been a site in various regional biogeochemical studies including the Integrated Forest Study (IFS; Johnson and Lindberg, 1992), the Adirondack Manipulation and Modeling project (AMMP; Mitchell et al., 1996) and the Adirondack Long-Term Monitoring (ALTM) Lake Project (Driscoll et al., 1998). The Huntington Forest was also the site of a soil warming experiment using buried heating cables (McHale et al., 1998) the results of which have also been compared with other sites with similar experiments (Rustad et al., 1999, 2000, 2001). Adjacent to the Arbutus Watershed is a 38-m walk up tower equipped with meteorological instrumentation and filter packs for sampling air chemistry that is monitored by NOAA as part of the Atmospheric Integrated Research Monitoring Network (AIRMoN) through 2001. Eddy correlation measurements of O3 and SO2 have been made using this tower (Meyers and Baldocchi, 1993). In May 2002, a Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) site was installed. CASTNET is operated by the U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) and provides atmospheric data on the dry deposition component of total acidic deposition, ground-level ozone and other forms of atmospheric pollution. In 2007 the Huntington Forest became a atmospheric mercury deposition site (AMnet: The analyses from these instruments include determinations atmospheric mercury concentrations of gaseous oxidized, particulate-bound, and elemental mercury that can be used to provide high-quality measurement data to estimate dry and total deposition of atmospheric mercury. In 2012 the Huntington Forest became part of AMoN, which is the only network providing a consistent, long-term record of ammonia gas concentrations across the United States. It has been recently recognized that having information on the rate of ammonia deposition is critical for understanding the contribution of fixed nitrogen to nitrogen inputs for a wide range of ecosystems. In 2013 the HF became part of the “ Mercury Litter” network ( This network determines the amount mercury deposited for a series of sites across the United States.

Arbutus Lake Watershed

The Arbutus Lake Watershed has bene gauged at the lake outlet since October 1991 with a V-notch weir. The 130 ha Archer Creek Catchment drains into Arbutus Lake. This Catchment has been monitored since 1994 using a H-flume equipped with automated discharge logging and sample collection system. Water chemistry samples are taken weekly except during storm events when more frequent sampling is done. In addition, transects of piezometers, water table wells, soil tension lysimeters, snow lysimeter and throughfall collectors, have been installed for characterizing solute chemistry. Various plots and subcatchments including both upland and wetland sites have been intensively instrumented since 1994 and are described in detail elsewhere (Bischoff et al., 1999; Christopher et al. 2006; McHale et al., 1999; Ohrui et al., 1999). Beginning in 2004 we developed a "state of the art system" for obtaining realtime data in the Arbutus Watershed. The system includes radio transmission of discharge (Arbutus Outlet, Arbutus Inlet, Subwatershed 14 and Subwatershed 15) ground water height in wells and various meterological parameters including snow depth, precipitation, wind, etc. Access to realtime and archived biogeochemical, hydrological and meteorological data as well as real time images from the watershed are available on the web. 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. Real-time data showing the fluorescence of dissolved organic matter (FDOM) is provided. A detailed Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has been developed for the site that includes a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) with 3-m resolution and other GIS information. Detailed stream and wetland maps have been produced and sampling points located all of which are part of the GIS. Arbutus Lake has been part of the Adirondack Long Term Monitoring Program since June 1982.

Biogeochemical studies at the HF have evaluated a broad range of biogeochemical constituents including Al (David and Driscoll, 1994), S (David et al., 1998; Gbondo-Tugbawa et al., 2002; Mitchell et al., 1992a, 1998, 2006, 2008), N (Bischoff et al., 2001; Hurd et al., 2001; McHale et al., 2000, 2004; McNeil et al., 2008; Mitchell et al., 1992ab, 1996ab, 2001; Ohrui et al., 1999; Piatek et al., 2005, 2009; Shepard et al., 1990), Ca (McGee et al., 2007; Page et al., 2008a, b, c) and Hg (Bushey et al., 2008, Dittman et al., 2009,; Selvendiran et al., 2009). Also, recent efforts have been focused on evaluating interactions between hydrology and biogeochemistry (Campbell et al., 2009; Christopher et al., 2008; Inamdar et al., 2004; McHale et al., 2002; Mitchell 2002; Park et al., 2003, 2005).