Snow fencing to increase streamflow: preliminary results

TitleSnow fencing to increase streamflow: preliminary results
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1986
AuthorsSturges, D. L.
Conference Name54th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 54th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1986
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationPhoenix, Arizona
KeywordsSnow fences, Snow management, Specific conductance, Suspended sediment, Water yield improvement

A 3.8-m-tall snow fence 800 m long was placed on a 307-ha sagebrush-covered watershed in southern Wyoming in a paired watershed study. Snowmelt discharge increased 137%, snow accumulation increased 58%, and runoff was lengthened 18 days, over values predicted by pretreatment regression relationships the first 2 years after treatment. Overall water yield efficiency of snow stored in the fenced section was 32%, but yield efficiency of additional snow stored by the fence was 85%. Placement of additional snow over natural snow accumulations maximized water yield efficiency. The fence trapped virtually 100% of blowing snow.Average suspended sediment concentration in water was less than 11 mg/liter and deposition of coarse sediment was less than 0.11 cu m/sq km before and after fencing. Specific conductance of water ranged between 150 and 760 micromhos/cm at 25 degrees C; approximately 40% of the water samples had a conductivity between 300 and 400 micromhos/cm.