Bonanza Creek

The Caibou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed (CPCRW) is a 104 km2 basin north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The watershed is reserved for ecological, hydrological and climate reserach. It is owned jointly by the State of Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed (CPCRW) is a relatively pristine, 104 km2, basin reserved for meteorologic, hydrologic, and ecologic research, with no current human influence (other than scientific research). The Boreal Ecology Cooperative Research Unit and Water and Environmental Research Center have been collecting climate and hydrology data since 1969, as well as ecological studies on a more sporadic schedule. The data collection infrastructure has recently been upgraded from analog (e.g. paper charts) to digital (e.g. solid-state dataloggers) instrumentation. In addition, access to the watershed has been upgraded by the construction of a bridge across the Chatanika River, completed on 5 August 1995. There is a rustic field camp with accommodations for sleeping and eating, and field laboratory with a generator for line power.

The CPCRW is unique among such research areas in the United States in that it is the only one in the zone of discontinuous permafrost, which comprises a large portion of the state of Alaska, including most of interior Alaska. It is fairly representative of upland headwater stream basins in subarctic Alaska. The hydrology of CPCRW is a major driver of the aquatic ecology and biogeochemistry of the basin, while events in the terrestrial portions of the watersheds set the stage. Hydro-biological research in CPCRW has several major thrusts: to assess the role of disturbance in the terrestrial landscape (e.g. wildfire, herbivory, logging) on subarctic stream ecosystems, to assess the influence of discontinuous permafrost on fresh water ecology, and to assess the validity of the River Continuum concept in a subarctic context.

Institution University of Alaska Fairbanks
Country United States
Infrastructure type Research station
Disciplines Earth sciences
Language of operation English
Keywords Alaskaecologyresearch


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