American River Watershed Institute

Ecosystem Education Program

The American River Watershed Institute offers research-based experiential education at our French Meadows Research Station. The station is a 2000 square foot restored dam-keeper's house located 55 miles from Interstate 80 at 5500 feet elevation in the French Meadows Game Refuge of the Tahoe National Forest. The site is in the 2001 Star Fire area, with a wide variety of life zones in close proximity. Nearby are the Duncan Roadless Area, the Granite Chief Wilderness Area, two national forests, and privately-held timberlands. (Click on image to see larger version.)
DAM HOUSE.jpg (1528214 bytes)

French Meadows

FIRE CHAT.JPG (1458621 bytes)

Class Around
the Campfire

FOUR STUDENTS.jpg (1559259 bytes)

Research Team

GUY TEAM.JPG (1518223 bytes)

Team in
Severe Burn Stand

Fire Recovery Demonstration Project: Photo-documentation of Star Fire Recovery

The Community Demonstration Project was undertaken as a means of indirectly measuring the availability of sediment to weathering. Exposed sediment can be dislodged by rain, and can eventually reach watercourses. Sediment protected by overlaying dead and live vegetation is less likely to contribute to watercourses.  Full project narrative . . .

These photographs were taken from transects randomly located in continuous stands characterized as Light Burn, Moderate Burn, or Severe Burn. Light Burn is defined, for the purpose of this work, as a forest with saplings and some shrubs remaining after the fire. Moderate Burn is defined as forest with saplings and shrubs burned, and pole-sized trees, and larger, remaining. Severe Burn is a forest characterized by all vegetation burned.

Each photo-transect was established randomly, using a random number table, along a 100-meter master transect parallel to an access road. Each photo-transect was also 100 meters long, with ten photo-points selected using a random number table. Each set of photographs begins with a photo of the transect from its beginning. Even-numbered photo-points were used for canopy photos taken by pointing the camera straight upwards. Photograph in the cardinal directions were taken from the center-point of each transect.

These photographs are useful as Kodak-moment overview of forest recovery after a fire. Additionally, further data can be teased from these photographs by quantification both visibly exposed sediment and sediment protected by vegetation.

LIGHT_2004.jpg (791757 bytes)

2004 Light Burn

MOD_CANOPY.JPG (823114 bytes)

2004 Moderate Burn

SEVERE_QUADRATE.jpg (849361 bytes)

2004 Severe Burn

SNA_LIGHT_41A4.JPG (837200 bytes)

2004 Light Burn

Photo galleries are available from 2004 and 2005 for each transect type: