In 2016 and 2017, blogger and photographer Erika Zambello launched a road trip to visit as many LTER sites as possible. Erika visited the Coweeta LTER site and posted 3 blogs about her experiences.
Beginning in the 1970’s, researchers at Coweeta began an experiment that sought to quantify how much different forest ecosystem processes would shift after a disturbance, and how quickly they would bounce back to their pre-disturbance state. The team clear-cut trees from an entire watershed in the study region and constructed new logging roads to simulate the typical timber harvest methods of the time.
A new video on the YouTube channel Untamed Science, shows how the research at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory contributes to studying questions related to drinking water quality and watershed yields. The video entitled "How to Get Good, Clean Drinking Water: The Big Picture Approach" shows a journalist's visit to the lab to witness firsthand the unique and long-term research conducted by USDA Forest Service scientists.
E. Fred Benfield, a long time Coweeta LTER investigator, was recently honored by Virginia Tech for 45 years of service. Fred is one of the co-founder's of Virginia Tech's Stream Team/Ecosystem Research Group which is a collection of biology professors and students who study different aspects of ecosystem ecology.
In May 2016, the Coweeta LTER in partnership with the City of Asheville, NC’s Water Resources Dept. installed three environmental sensor stations to monitor soil moisture, soil temperature, and air temperature in ridge, side-slope, and cove locations. The sites were established above the Beetree Reservoir in eastern Buncombe County. The stations are located within an 8900 hectare forested and protected watershed that is the drinking water supply for the City of Asheville, North Carolina.
A recent study by Coweeta LTER investigators reconfirmed what has become a well-known truth; forested riparian zones improve stream quality by maintaining cooler water temperatures, wider and more natural stream chanels, and provide woody debris that creates cover and complex habitats for aquatic animals like fish, salamanders and invertebrates. The study was conducted on streams within the Upper Little Tennessee River Basin in the Southern Appalachians and compared streams with surrounding forestland riparian zones to those in the midst of pasture or grassland.