Introduction to Data
Standard biodiversity monitoring data is collected most days in the field from both 20 meter square plots (quadrants). Plot 1 is situated about 30 meters upstream of plot 2; both on the west side of Bridal Veil Creek in the riparian zone a quarter mile beyond the mouth of the basin at Bridal Veil Power Station.
Four 1-meter square vegetation monitoring plots exist within each quadrant (1A-1D and 2A-2D) and were monitored by high school students with expert and mentor assistance for species richness and plant height in late June/early July and early-mid August, from 2005-2009.
In August 2009, preliminary vegetation inventories were taken at 2 higher quadrants within Bridal Veil Basin at 12,000 feet elevation in the alpine zone. The Transect method was used with Daubenmires and percent cover estimates every 4 meters on a diagonal. 20m x 20m plots exist on the east and west sides of Bridal Veil Creek above treeline. Transect methods and percent coverage estimations were implemented at high plots (12,000') in 2009, and at high and lower plots in 2011, and will serve as the standard procedure from here forward. Specimens of many documented species on lower elevation plots are pressed and preserved in an ongoing herbarium. A species list documents most plants identified at these sights.
Soil samples are taken from 2 sites daily up until 2011: a riparian area and drier meadow. Moisture is measured by weighing samples before and after complete drying in oven. Air, water and soil temperatures are measured twice daily.
2 birding plots exist. Bird counts occur most mornings on Plot #2. Plot 1 exists in an avalanche runout zone with willowy meadow habitat. Plot 2 exists in a sparsely forested section between two avalanche runout zones with rich brush/meadow ground covering. Grids are used in field and on paper with 25-meter and 50-meter markings. Flyovers, song recognition and off-grid sightings are thus marked appropriately. Bird watching occurs for 30 minutes per session, with official counts occurring from 0-3 and 3-5 minutes of a 5-minute count.
Trees are measured, tagged, identified and located on grids with coordinates. Two species exist in this ecosystem: Subalpine Fir (SAF) and Engelmann Spruce (ES). Trees with DBH (diameter at breast height of 4.5') < 4 inches are not counted. Multiple DBH measurements signify split- trunk scenarios.
Aquatic macro-invertebrate populations are monitored in Bridal Veil Creek at the study site, as well as in several other streams for independent student projects. All collected bug data is included in data sheet. Insects are collected through kicking in place for one minute in four locations at a cross section of the stream. Data may include insect tolerance levels (low numbers most sensitive), functional feeding group and biodiversity indices using the Shannon-Weiner Biodiversity Index.