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2018 Abstracts

Effects of fire on aquatic ecosystems

Lauren Nickell, Southern Utah University

The Brian Head fire, which began due to human action in June 2017, quickly wreaked havoc in the western corner of the Dixie National forest. It covered roughly 72,000 acres of land1. The full impact of the fire has yet to be discovered, but there is an urgent necessity to evaluate the drastic changes to the ecosystem. In this study, we aim to look into variations in water chemistry of two streams crossing the Brian Head burn scar. We will conduct weekly monitoring of the pH, dissolved oxygen, water velocity, temperature, and turbidity. Our two sites are located on along the Second Left Hand Road, in Middle Creek and Parowan Creek. Our goal is to evaluate how the fire affects these streams not only through ash deposits but flooding and erosion as well. Water velocity and turbidity will be more reflective of punctual episodes of flash flooding that have occurred on multiple occasions in the Parowan area since the fire. We can see that the road and the stream banks have already been significantly altered, our study will allow us to have a deeper understanding of how the fire affected the area and its ecosystem. Future studies will include and biological assessment through the invertebrate community of the streams. 1 (2017, June 18). Brian Head Fire. InciWeb. Retrieved from