WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Project ID: 2004OR48B
Title: Hydrogeomorphic Analysis of the Luckiamute Watershed, Central Coast Range, Oregon
Project Type: Research
Focus Categories: Education, Geomorphological Processes, Hydrology
Keywords: Luckiamute Watershed, Coast Range, fluvial geomorphology, drainage morphometry
Start Date: 02/15/2004
End Date: 02/14/2005
Federal Funds: $14,896
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $32,975
Congressional District: Oregon 5
Western Oregon University
Mountainous watersheds are fundamental landscape elements that form an important setting for local ecological interactions, human occupation, and water resource development. They also represent the foundational components for mass sediment transfer from continental regions to ocean basins. As such, the understanding of hydrogeomorphic variables and related process interactions is critical for designing sustainable water resource and habitat conservation plans. From the perspective of undergraduate training in the Earth Sciences, watersheds represent the ideal natural laboratory for student application of quantitative techniques to multivariate systems with interdependent process-response mechanisms.
The purpose of this project is to use the Luckiamute River basin of western Oregon as a model watershed to integrate select components of applied research into a sequence of surface-process courses at Western Oregon Univeristy (WOU). The Luckiamute will be used as a natural laboratory for integrated studies in fluvial geomorphology, environmental geology, hydrology, and GIS analysis. Primary research objectives include: (1) characterization of bedrock control on topography and goemorphic processes in the upper Luckiamute, (2) calculation of valley-bottom sediment storage volumes, as related to item 1 above, (3) characterization of channel-bed composition with respect to sediment-transport functions, and (4) collection and analysis of water quality data in the context of geologic and anthropogenic variables.
From a training perpsective, the proposed watershed-based curriculum will (1) imcorporate research into the undergraduate Earth science program at WOU, (2) engage students in socially-relevant watershed-based science, (3) improve quantitative skills via coursework, lab exercises, and applied research, (4) develop problem-sloving and scientific skills within a regional watershed setting, and (5) foster an interconnected perspective of watershed processes across several linked courses.
The research model will be places in the context of community outreach via collaboration with a local watershed council and disseminated for application to other watersheds. This project will also contribute to the understanding of upland watershed dynamics in the Pacific Northwest.