Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013MT280B

Student Fellowship: Rephotography as a tool to Understand the Effects of Resource Use on Rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Region

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $1,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $440

Principal Investigators: Heidi Clark

Abstract: Repeat photographs provide a glimpse of the past and thus tell a story of how time has shaped the landscape. Rivers are dynamic and constantly changing course; the same river can appear differently depending on the season and year. It can be difficult to judge the dramatic changes that take place over a century. With the use of repeat photography, this study will show how headwater rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Region have been affected by natural resource use (e.g., logging, mining, ranching, and dam building) over the last one hundred years. These rivers include the Gallatin, Madison, Snake, Henry's Fork of the Snake River, Yellowstone, Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone, Shoshone, Wind, and Green Rivers. Through a comparison of historical and recent photos, this study will examine whether the rivers affected by resource extraction are resilient enough to maintain ecological function through both qualitative and quantitative spatial analysis. This research on riverine processes over time, documented by rephotography, will greatly increase the understanding of recovery and resiliency of natural systems when affected by disturbance and thus aid future riverine restoration work in the Northern Rocky Mountains.