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WWRC 94-01
Fiscal Year 1993 Program Report


Three research projects were funded under the FY93 program, as well as information transfer activities. These three research projects relate to important water issues in the State of Wyoming and the region.

Comparison of Depth-to-Groundwater Suitability Curves for Important Riparian Plant Species in the Subalpine and Montane Zones. This study provides some of the basic information needed to make informed management decisions regarding the response of riparian vegetation to various surface- and ground-water level regimes. For the second year of the study we evaluated the response of aspen (Populus tremuloides) density, and shrubby cinquefoil (Pentaphylloidesfloribunda) density and canopy cover to streamflow augmentation and altered groundwater levels. Depth-to-groundwater suitability relationships were investigated for both species. Aspen density declined significantly as a result of streamflow augmentation on sites that became saturated or inundated for several consecutive growing seasons. Shrubby cinquefoil density also decreased significantly where the soil was saturated or inundated for several consecutive growing seasons. Conversely, shrubby cinquefoil canopy cover increased one site as a result of flow augmentation. Both aspen and shrubby cinquefoil showed a wide range of tolerance for groundwater levels, but neither showed a distinct relationship to depth to groundwater. Other environmental factors may play a significant role in determining the distribution of these species.

Monitoring Dicamba and Picloram Movement in the Vadose Zone for Groundwater Quality Protection in Wyoming. This study is being conducted to evaluate the herbicides dicamba and picloram (2 of 3 most widely used pesticides in Wyoming) interactions in agricultural and rangeland settings. The content of dicamba in soil after 80 days from application in 1993 was very low. The highest content was found at 60-90 cm for sites in which no-till-injection and chisel-broadcast combinations of tillage and fertilizer practices were implemented. All samples from sites located at the no-till with fertilizer injection treatment contained a trace amount of dicamba at all depths. The results of the concentration of picloram in soil from the study area did not indicate any consistent rate of movement or trend in degradation. Results indicate that picloram residues were primarily limited to the top 100 cm of soil with the highest concentration in the upper 40 cm. For one site, 10% of the applied picloram remained after 34 months following treatment. Results of column studies were utilized in the LEACHP model. For this study, crops were not present and all plant related subroutines were excluded from the model. Differences in herbicide degradation rates apparently resulted from variations in application rates and the degree of saturation.

Econometric Study of Water Right Market Prices: Determinant Identification and Quantification of Relationships and Price Trends. As the demand for existing water supplies continues to grow and drought conditions persist, increasing attention is being placed on transferring water rights through voluntary markets. Transfers of water rights are not new; they have occurred whenever irrigated agricultural properties are purchased. More recently water transfers are being proposed and used as a means of reallocating water to urban uses. Critical to this transfer process is knowledge about the current and future prices of water rights. Knowledge about water right prices is necessary to evaluate the economic benefits and costs of state and interstate water transfers and to analyze management options and development alternatives. Information about current water right prices is only available for selected market transfers around the region and virtually no research has been conducted to identify factors that may explain current prices or establish relationships to assist in evaluating or forecasting water right prices.

The Wyoming Water Resources Center uses several networks to inform the people of Wyoming, as well as neighboring states and regions, of what the WWRC is doing in education, research, and interagency cooperation to better manage and protect Wyoming's, and the nation's, water resources. Information transfer activities of the WWRC included: conducting, cosponsoring and coordinating seminars, workshops and conferences on water resource issues and technological and management issues; the dissemination of water resources research results in technical reports, professional journals and presentations at conferences; coordination and participation in University of Wyoming, federal, and state agency water quality education efforts; and publication of research and education programs, research results and information transfer activities in newsletters and bulletins.

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