Middle Rio Grande Bosque Evapotranspiration (ET) Study (SEON)
This study originated with the objective of parameterizing riparian evapotranspiration (ET) in the water budget of the Middle Rio Grande. We hypothesized that flooding and invasions of non-native species would strongly impact ecosystem water use. Our objectives were to measure and compare water use of native (Rio Grande cottonwood, Populus deltoides ssp. wizleni) and non-native (saltcedar, Tamarix chinensis & Russian olive, Eleagnus angustifolia) vegetation and to evaluate how water use is affected by climatic variability resulting in high river flows and flooding as well as drought conditions and deep water tables. Eddy covariance flux towers to measure ET and shallow wells to monitor water tables were instrumented in 1999. Active sites in their second decade of monitoring include a xeroriparian, non-flooding salt cedar woodland within Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and a dense, monotypic salt cedar stand at Bosque del Apache NWR, which is subject to flood pulses associated with high river flows.