What if we could predict water availability with greater accuracy?

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What if we could predict water availability with greater accuracy?

Fort Lewis College researcher works on national watershed project
Shea Wales, a graduate of Fort Lewis College, helped develop a system using colored beads to track plants that were unidentifiable early in the season. As part of a study to understand how watersheds work, researchers are studying how recent trends, such as snow melting earlier in the year, change plant cycles.
Fort Lewis College alumni Chelsea Wilmer and Shea Wales carry gear to a study site in the Elk Mountains near Crested Butte. They are joined by Elizabeth Ballor, who was a summer independent research student at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Patrick Sorenson, a postdoctoral scientist at the Berkeley Lab. The study is part of a U.S. Department of Energy research project aimed at understanding and predicting the quality and quantity of water moving through mountain systems in the West.
Snow melts in early June in the Elk Mountains near Crested Butte. Researchers are working to understand the watersheds and the levels of nutrients, metals, carbon and salt that will be carried into local rivers. The data collected in the study will help create models to predict the water quality and quantity in other watersheds.
Equipment set up in the upper montane of the Ruby Mountains tracks information, including snowmelt, soil moisture, how green the ground is and temperature.
To follow field progress

Fort Lewis College professor Heidi Steltzer will post updates about her work on Twitter and Instagram as @heidimountains. FLC alumna and research assistant on the project Chelsea Wilmer will post updates on Twitter @chelsinthefield and on Instagram @ouichelsfaye.
Heidi Steltzer’s Twitter handle has been corrected.

What if we could predict water availability with greater accuracy?

Shea Wales, a graduate of Fort Lewis College, helped develop a system using colored beads to track plants that were unidentifiable early in the season. As part of a study to understand how watersheds work, researchers are studying how recent trends, such as snow melting earlier in the year, change plant cycles.
Fort Lewis College alumni Chelsea Wilmer and Shea Wales carry gear to a study site in the Elk Mountains near Crested Butte. They are joined by Elizabeth Ballor, who was a summer independent research student at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and Patrick Sorenson, a postdoctoral scientist at the Berkeley Lab. The study is part of a U.S. Department of Energy research project aimed at understanding and predicting the quality and quantity of water moving through mountain systems in the West.
Snow melts in early June in the Elk Mountains near Crested Butte. Researchers are working to understand the watersheds and the levels of nutrients, metals, carbon and salt that will be carried into local rivers. The data collected in the study will help create models to predict the water quality and quantity in other watersheds.
Equipment set up in the upper montane of the Ruby Mountains tracks information, including snowmelt, soil moisture, how green the ground is and temperature.
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