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Mediating Water Temperature Increases Due to Livestock and Global Change in High Elevation Meadow Streams of the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Nusslé S, Matthews KR, Carlson SM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Inside the livestock exclosure in Mulkey, we found that riverbank vegetation was both larger and denser than outside the exclosure where cattle were present, resulting in more shaded waters and cooler maximal temperatures inside the exclosure.In addition, between meadows comparisons showed that water temperatures were cooler in the ungrazed meadows compared to the grazed area in the partially grazed meadow.Our results highlight that land use can interact with climate change to worsen the local thermal conditions for taxa on the edge and that protecting riparian vegetation is likely to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Rising temperatures due to climate change are pushing the thermal limits of many species, but how climate warming interacts with other anthropogenic disturbances such as land use remains poorly understood. To understand the interactive effects of climate warming and livestock grazing on water temperature in three high elevation meadow streams in the Golden Trout Wilderness, California, we measured riparian vegetation and monitored water temperature in three meadow streams between 2008 and 2013, including two "resting" meadows and one meadow that is partially grazed. All three meadows have been subject to grazing by cattle and sheep since the 1800s and their streams are home to the imperiled California golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita). In 1991, a livestock exclosure was constructed in one of the meadows (Mulkey), leaving a portion of stream ungrazed to minimize the negative effects of cattle. In 2001, cattle were removed completely from two other meadows (Big Whitney and Ramshaw), which have been in a "resting" state since that time. Inside the livestock exclosure in Mulkey, we found that riverbank vegetation was both larger and denser than outside the exclosure where cattle were present, resulting in more shaded waters and cooler maximal temperatures inside the exclosure. In addition, between meadows comparisons showed that water temperatures were cooler in the ungrazed meadows compared to the grazed area in the partially grazed meadow. Finally, we found that predicted temperatures under different global warming scenarios were likely to be higher in presence of livestock grazing. Our results highlight that land use can interact with climate change to worsen the local thermal conditions for taxa on the edge and that protecting riparian vegetation is likely to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Study area.Data were collected in three distinct meadow systems of the Golden Trout Wilderness, California, a protected area within the Inyo National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is the last remaining habitat of the Golden Trout (Oncorynchus mykiss aquabonita). Water temperature was measured between 2008–2013 in three rivers: (1) Mulkey Creek, within Mulkey Meadows, between 2827–2844 m in elevation, (2) the South Fork of the Kern River within Ramshaw Meadows, between 2629–2648 m, and (3) the Golden Trout Creek within Big Whitney Meadow, between 2931–2964 m.
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pone.0142426.g001: Study area.Data were collected in three distinct meadow systems of the Golden Trout Wilderness, California, a protected area within the Inyo National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is the last remaining habitat of the Golden Trout (Oncorynchus mykiss aquabonita). Water temperature was measured between 2008–2013 in three rivers: (1) Mulkey Creek, within Mulkey Meadows, between 2827–2844 m in elevation, (2) the South Fork of the Kern River within Ramshaw Meadows, between 2629–2648 m, and (3) the Golden Trout Creek within Big Whitney Meadow, between 2931–2964 m.

Mentions: To protect the meadows from damage linked to grazing, the Inyo National Forest has removed cattle from some meadows and constructed cattle exclosures in several other meadows along the river channel [19]. We investigated three large meadows systems (5–7 km long), grazed by cattle and sheep since the 1800s, in the largest meadow complex in the Sierra Nevada occurring in depositional basins of the Kern Plateau (Fig 1, Table 1): (1) Mulkey Meadows (36°24’19”N, 118°11’42.14”W, elevation: 2838 m), where cattle are partially excluded by a cattle exclosure that was constructed in 1991, and two other meadows where cattle have been excluded completely since 2001: (2) Ramshaw Meadows (36°20’53”N, 118°14’52.62”W, elevation: 2640 m) and (3) Big Whitney Meadow (36°26’23”N, 118°16’11.66”W, elevation: 2963 m). These meadows are generally covered with snow from November to May, and are located in a semi-arid region where annual precipitation is 50–70 cm and mostly in the form of snow [19].


Mediating Water Temperature Increases Due to Livestock and Global Change in High Elevation Meadow Streams of the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Nusslé S, Matthews KR, Carlson SM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Study area.Data were collected in three distinct meadow systems of the Golden Trout Wilderness, California, a protected area within the Inyo National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is the last remaining habitat of the Golden Trout (Oncorynchus mykiss aquabonita). Water temperature was measured between 2008–2013 in three rivers: (1) Mulkey Creek, within Mulkey Meadows, between 2827–2844 m in elevation, (2) the South Fork of the Kern River within Ramshaw Meadows, between 2629–2648 m, and (3) the Golden Trout Creek within Big Whitney Meadow, between 2931–2964 m.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4643935&req=5

pone.0142426.g001: Study area.Data were collected in three distinct meadow systems of the Golden Trout Wilderness, California, a protected area within the Inyo National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which is the last remaining habitat of the Golden Trout (Oncorynchus mykiss aquabonita). Water temperature was measured between 2008–2013 in three rivers: (1) Mulkey Creek, within Mulkey Meadows, between 2827–2844 m in elevation, (2) the South Fork of the Kern River within Ramshaw Meadows, between 2629–2648 m, and (3) the Golden Trout Creek within Big Whitney Meadow, between 2931–2964 m.
Mentions: To protect the meadows from damage linked to grazing, the Inyo National Forest has removed cattle from some meadows and constructed cattle exclosures in several other meadows along the river channel [19]. We investigated three large meadows systems (5–7 km long), grazed by cattle and sheep since the 1800s, in the largest meadow complex in the Sierra Nevada occurring in depositional basins of the Kern Plateau (Fig 1, Table 1): (1) Mulkey Meadows (36°24’19”N, 118°11’42.14”W, elevation: 2838 m), where cattle are partially excluded by a cattle exclosure that was constructed in 1991, and two other meadows where cattle have been excluded completely since 2001: (2) Ramshaw Meadows (36°20’53”N, 118°14’52.62”W, elevation: 2640 m) and (3) Big Whitney Meadow (36°26’23”N, 118°16’11.66”W, elevation: 2963 m). These meadows are generally covered with snow from November to May, and are located in a semi-arid region where annual precipitation is 50–70 cm and mostly in the form of snow [19].

Bottom Line: Inside the livestock exclosure in Mulkey, we found that riverbank vegetation was both larger and denser than outside the exclosure where cattle were present, resulting in more shaded waters and cooler maximal temperatures inside the exclosure.In addition, between meadows comparisons showed that water temperatures were cooler in the ungrazed meadows compared to the grazed area in the partially grazed meadow.Our results highlight that land use can interact with climate change to worsen the local thermal conditions for taxa on the edge and that protecting riparian vegetation is likely to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Rising temperatures due to climate change are pushing the thermal limits of many species, but how climate warming interacts with other anthropogenic disturbances such as land use remains poorly understood. To understand the interactive effects of climate warming and livestock grazing on water temperature in three high elevation meadow streams in the Golden Trout Wilderness, California, we measured riparian vegetation and monitored water temperature in three meadow streams between 2008 and 2013, including two "resting" meadows and one meadow that is partially grazed. All three meadows have been subject to grazing by cattle and sheep since the 1800s and their streams are home to the imperiled California golden trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita). In 1991, a livestock exclosure was constructed in one of the meadows (Mulkey), leaving a portion of stream ungrazed to minimize the negative effects of cattle. In 2001, cattle were removed completely from two other meadows (Big Whitney and Ramshaw), which have been in a "resting" state since that time. Inside the livestock exclosure in Mulkey, we found that riverbank vegetation was both larger and denser than outside the exclosure where cattle were present, resulting in more shaded waters and cooler maximal temperatures inside the exclosure. In addition, between meadows comparisons showed that water temperatures were cooler in the ungrazed meadows compared to the grazed area in the partially grazed meadow. Finally, we found that predicted temperatures under different global warming scenarios were likely to be higher in presence of livestock grazing. Our results highlight that land use can interact with climate change to worsen the local thermal conditions for taxa on the edge and that protecting riparian vegetation is likely to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus