Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reservoir Rundown

Downstream of HJ Andrews Experimental Forest LTER: Blue River reservoir as a reference for management changes

contributed by: Christina Murphy (, HJ AndrewsLTER Grad Rep and PhD student at Oregon State University

After more than 3 years abroad, it was exciting to roll out of a plane and into the HJ Andrews.  More than anything, I had missed the dark evergreen color of the Pacific Northwest forests.  I started out working as part of phenology studies already underway at the site.  As an aquatic ecologist, developing my PhD project has slowly taken me downstream into the Blue River Reservoir (also known as Blue River Lake).
 (Blue River Reservoir)

With PIs Dr. Sherri Johnson and Dr. Ivan Arismendi, I am studying nutrients and food web dynamics under extended drawdowns meant to help migratory juvenile salmon move downstream.  The reservoirs currently under study include Blue River, Fall Creek and Hills Creek.  In a climate of changing management strategies, Blue River Reservoir will serve as a reference system.  Its proximity to the HJ Andrews LTER site is proving to be a huge benefit when coordinating a study.

(Brendan, OSU Research Assistant, trip photographer)

LTER sites are characterized by long-term data, and by the curiosity of researchers.  The Andrews LTER’s proximity to the Blue River provides us with historic data which would not otherwise be available.  The LTER site also has connections, fostering interagency cooperation which has made our trips on the reservoir for data collections possible.

(Making friends with zooplankton)

So, while last summer I spent time in the streams of the Andrews, this summer I spent time floating around the reservoir.  Pulling up water in Van Dorns, hauling in plankton nets, and peering through a microscope, it is proving to be a very busy summer.  Working in a beautiful area to answer questions about our local resources and how our management actions change the world around us.  Questions which fit well with the HJ Andrews.

(Preparing for a day on the water)

Wishing everyone a wonderful and educational fall!

(Mike and Kevin, field heroes, US Forest Service)

P.S. Thanks to the folks in the Fisheries & Wildlife Department at Oregon State, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Forest Service.  With respect to Blue River we especially want to thank the local McKenzie River Ranger District for their help!

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