Southern Rockies & Colorado Plateau
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Aquatic Site Marker
Each site has up to eight groundwater wells outfitted with sensors that measure high temporal resolution groundwater elevation (pressure transducer-based), temperature, and specific conductance. Met. Station
A met. station is located on the shore of most aqutic sites and collects data comparable with flux tower measurements at terrestrial sites. Lake and wadeable rivers also have an above water met. station on buoy. These data are unique with different sensors and data frequencies due to power and data storage constraints. Sensor Station
Wadeable streams have a sensor station near the top of the reach and the bottom of the reach; non-wadeable rivers have a sensor station on a buoy and one near the bank; Lakes have an inlet sensor station, an outlet sensor station and a sensor station on a buoy. Data collection varies by type of sensor station. Click on sensor station on the map to learn more. Staff gauge/camera
The staff gauge measures gauge height, in meters, measured at lakes, wadeable rivers and non-wadeable streams. A phenocam is installed near most gauges. It collects RGB and IR images of the lake, river, or stream vegetation, stream surface, and stream gauge every 15 minutes. Observational Sampling
This map depicts the spatial layout of this field site. Please note that some locations may have moved over time due to logistics, safety and science requirements.
This map was updated on February 11, 2019
Construction Status for this Site
The Como Creek is a high-elevation (~3,100 m), wadeable mountain stream just east of the Continental Divide and approximately 27 km west of Boulder, Colorado. The site has remained relatively undisturbed for the past fifty years, with no development, logging, or fire activity in the watershed. Snowmelt dominates the hydrologic and nutrient flux in this predominantly subalpine system.
Total data products planned for this site: 77
Site Host & Access Site Host:
U.S Forest Service, Boulder County
Is additional non-NEON research allowed at this site?:
Yes, non-NEON research activities are allowed in this area. Researchers must obtain their own permits with the site host(s).
Site Characteristics Latitude/Longitude:40.03496, -105.54487 Elevation:3167 m Mean Annual Temperature:-0.3C/31.46F Mean Annual Precipitation:758 mm Dominant NLCD Classes:
Como Creek is a 6.64 km2 headwater catchment spanning 2,900-3,560 m and is part of the Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research Station and the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory. Approximately 80% of the catchment is below treeline, primarily comprised of 100-year-old coniferous forest dominated by Picea Engelmannii (Engelmann spruce), Abies lasiocarpa (sub-alpine fir), Pinus flexilis (limber pine), and Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen). Alpine meadows bounded by ribbon forest characterize the landscape above treeline. Meadow soils are classified as a mixed Type Humicryepts, sandy-skeletal in texture. The soil is loamy sand to gravel with little clay content that is moderately-drained.
Characterized by cold and relatively long winters, Niwot Ridge has an average annual temperature of 1.5 °C and average annual precipitation of 800 mm. Como Creek generally reaches base flow during winter months. Most precipitation falls as snow from October to June while afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer.
USGS HUC: h10190005
Schist, migmatite, and biotitic gneiss. Paleoproterozoic era.
Data Collection Types Airborne Remote Sensing Surveys
Remote sensing surveys of this site collect lidar, spectrometer and high resolution RGB camera data.
This site has one meteorological station located in the riparian area. The met station is outfitted with the a subset of the same sensors used at terrestrial sites. Measurements include wind speed and direction, air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, shortwave radiation, and PAR.
This site has one phenocam near the stream.
Surface Water Sensor Stations
This site has one upstream sensor station and one downstream sensor station. Measurements include PAR, temperature, water quality [specific conductivity, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen content, pH, turbidity, and fluorescent dissolved organic matter (only downstream)], and nitrate is measured at the downstream station.
Four groundwater wells throughout the site collect specific conductivity, water tempertaure, and elevation of groundwater.
Field ecologists collect the following types of observational data at this site:
Aquatic Microbes (surface water, benthic)
Plants and Macroalgae
Water and Particulates
Other Domain 13 Field Sites
Core Terrestrial | Colorado
Distance: 2 mi.
Relocatable Aquatic | Wadeable Stream | Colorado
Distance: 22 mi.
Relocatable Terrestrial | Utah
Distance: 240 mi.
Colocated Research Organizations
Field Operations Office
1685 38th Street, Suite 100
Boulder, CO 80301