Oregon Hydrologic Landscapes: A Classification Framework

Authors

  • Parker J. Wigington,

    Jr.
    1. Respectively, Research Hydrologist (Wigington), Research Ecologist (Leibowitz), Ecologist (Comeleo), and Research Fish Biologist (Ebersole), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th St., Corvallis, Oregon 97333
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  • Scott G. Leibowitz,

    1. Respectively, Research Hydrologist (Wigington), Research Ecologist (Leibowitz), Ecologist (Comeleo), and Research Fish Biologist (Ebersole), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th St., Corvallis, Oregon 97333
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  • Randy L. Comeleo,

    1. Respectively, Research Hydrologist (Wigington), Research Ecologist (Leibowitz), Ecologist (Comeleo), and Research Fish Biologist (Ebersole), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th St., Corvallis, Oregon 97333
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  • Joseph L. Ebersole

    1. Respectively, Research Hydrologist (Wigington), Research Ecologist (Leibowitz), Ecologist (Comeleo), and Research Fish Biologist (Ebersole), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th St., Corvallis, Oregon 97333
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  • Paper No. JAWRA-11-0161-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA Discussions are open until six months from print publication.

(E-Mail:/Wigington: wigington.jim@epa.gov).

Abstract

Wigington, Parker J., Jr., Scott G. Leibowitz, Randy L. Comeleo, and Joseph L. Ebersole, 2012. Oregon Hydrologic Landscapes: A Classification Framework. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-20. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12009

Abstract:  There is a growing need for hydrologic classification systems that can provide a basis for broad-scale assessments of the hydrologic functions of landscapes and watersheds and their responses to stressors such as climate change. We developed a hydrologic landscape (HL) classification approach that describes factors of climate-watershed systems that control the hydrologic characteristics of watersheds. Our assessment units are incremental watersheds (i.e., headwater watersheds or areas draining directly into stream reaches). Major components of the classification include indices of annual climate, climate seasonality, aquifer permeability, terrain, and soil permeability. To evaluate the usefulness of our approach, we identified 30 rivers with long-term streamflow-gauging records and without major diversions and impoundments. We used statistical clustering to group the streams based on the shapes of their annual hydrographs. Comparison of the streamflow clusters and HL distributions within river basin clusters shows that the Oregon HL approach has the ability to provide insights about the expected hydrologic behavior of HLs and larger river basins. The Oregon HL approach has potential to be a useful framework for comparing hydrologic attributes of streams and rivers in the Pacific Northwest.

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