The Importance of Reynolds Creek:
Reynolds Creek has been the focus of long term-research since the 1960s. The USDA Northwest Watershed Research Center (NWRC), and the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) research in the 238 km2 area, of the Owyhee Mountain Range in southwestern Idaho. In 2014, the Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory (RC-CZO) was established to “. . . address the grand challenges of improving prediction of soil carbon (C) storage and flux from the pedon to landscape scale." The synergy of CZO scientists with the successful unit (>400 publications) of six full-time RCEW scientists and technicians provides the infrastructure and expertise for fruitful field-based and instrument intensive studies. Eight heavily instrumented core sites at the RCEW measure parameters including soil moisture, soil and air temperature, precipitation and dust flux. Elevations range from ~1100 m to 2245 m, and precipitation closely follows the elevation gradient, with the driest location receiving ~240 mm annually and the higher elevations receiving over 1170 mm annually (Hanson, 2001). State and federal government owns ~75% of the land in the watershed, with the remainder privately owned and utilized primarily for cattle grazing and agriculture. Importantly for this study, the Reynolds Creek precipitation gradient is well instrumented for C fluxes (both pedon and 1-2 km scale), and prior work (Stanbery, 2016; Will, 2017; Stanbery et al., 2017) quantifies and parameterizes the amounts and controls on both soil organic and inorganic carbon. Prior geophysical work (Nielson, 2017) has successfully used geophysical techniques to identify the depth and extent of pedogenic carbonate horizons.
Reynolds Creek Research Site