This program coincides with the Firelines exhibit at the Sun Valley Museum of History.
Mountain basins of the western United States provide diverse habitats for aquatic organisms, but are also prone to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. This talk draws from several years of research in watersheds of central Idaho, to illustrate the dynamic biophysical responses to wildfire and climate change. Examples highlight alterations to (1) the input and routing of sediment and wood, (2) channel morphology and physical habitat complexity, and (3) streamed scour, and the trajectory of response over time. Much of this work focuses on potential impacts to salmonids due to their threatened and endangered status and the large amount of resources expended on restoring and managing salmonid habitat in western North America. Taken as a whole, these examples underscore the fact that while wildfire and related disturbances cause damage to wildlife and human infrastructure, it can have important ecological benefits; aquatic organisms have evolved with these landscape disturbances and show adaptation to them.
Dr. Jaime Goode is an Assistant Professor of Geosciences and Environmental Studies at The College of Idaho. Since receiving her PhD from Colorado State University in Geoscience in 2009, Dr. Goode has been investigating how river systems respond to a changing climate and the corresponding implications for ecosystems and societies. Much of this work has been conducted in central Idaho in collaboration with scientists at the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Recent work brings undergraduates out into the Idaho wilderness to examine the role that wildfire plays in shaping aquatic habitat, particularly for threatened and endangered salmonids.