Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology: White Clay Creek, Pennsylvania


Stroud Water Research Center and its 800 ha, 3rd-order drainage basin was designated an Experimental Ecological Reserve in 1981 by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This designation, based upon the criteria of site quality, research activities, logistics and financial support, recognized that this field research facility was dedicated to long-term experimental research on an ecosystem this is an outstanding representative of its type.

The East Branch of White Clay Creek is classified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an Exceptional Value stream and watershed. This the highest classification given and affords the watershed special protection against environmental disturbance of anthropogenic origin.

In 1998, the White Clay Creek experimental watershed, extending from the Stroud Water Research Center north to the headwaters, was designated as a site for long-term research in environmental biology (LTREB). The National Science Foundation LTREB grant to Center scientists recognizes that many important questions in ecology require the acquisition of long time series of data. NSF funds are being use to help maintain an on-going long-term research project examining stream and watershed characteristics associated with a riparian zone restoration/reforestation.

In this LTREB project, the overarching goals involve discerning the time period, most salient features, and final condition of a recovered state. LTREB funding is being used to: (1) maintain existing watershed installations to continue an on-going acquisition of long-term data on White Clay Creek, (2) address the data management needs of the long-term project, including making the data available to the research community, and (3) testing hypotheses concerning long-term variations in stream ecosystem structure and function under stable and/or recovering conditions.

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