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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
Site history & management
Sycamore Creek is a 5
th order, intermittent Sonoran Desert stream located approximately 32 km northeast of the Phoenix, Arizona. The stream drains a watershed approximately 505 km 2 (Fisher and Minckley 1978). The Sycamore Creek watershed is representative of many small watersheds in the southwest (Thomsen and Schumann 1968). As a result, numerous aquatic ecology studies have been carried out in the stream since the 1960s. The Sycamore Creek watershed is located within Tonto National Forest and administered by the US Forest Service.
Total data products planned for this site: 53
Site Host & Access Site Host:
U. S. Forest Service
Is additional non-NEON research allowed at this site?:
No additional research is allowed in this area at this time. The site hosts have only permitted NEON research activities and are not open to additional research.
Site Characteristics Latitude/Longitude:33.74906, -111.5069 Elevation:727 m Mean Annual Temperature:21C/69.8F Mean Annual Precipitation:350 mm Dominant NLCD Classes:
USGS HUC: h15060203
Precipitation in the Sycamore Creek watershed averages 34-58 cm, depending on elevation. Rainfall is bimodally distributed with peaks in the winter and summer (Jones et al. 1997). Runoff from summer monsoon storms can produce severe flash flooding which can increase stream discharge several orders of magnitude within a few hours. Mean pan evaporation is approximately six times precipitation (Fisher and Minckely 1978). During the fall and late-spring, the stream often has no surface flow.
Most of the Sycamore Creek watershed is classified as Sonoran Desert scrub, with the exception of the highest elevations (Fisher and Minckley 1978). Riparian vegetation is sparsely distributed. Willow, cottonwood, mesquite, ash, and walnut are limited to areas inundated only during highest flows (Jones et al. 1997).
The watershed is composed of igneous and metamorphic rock with shallow overlying soils and unconsolidated sediments (Thomsen and Schumann 1968).
Fisher, S.G. and W.L. Minckley. 1978. Chemical characteristics of a desert stream in flash flood. Journal of Arid Environments 1:25-33.
Jones, J.B., Schade, J.D., Fisher, S.G., and N.B. Grimm. 1997. Organic matter dynamics in Sycamore Creek, a desert stream in Arizona. USA. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 78-82.
Thomsen, B.W. and H.H. Schumann.. 1968. The Sycamore Creek watershed, Maricopa County, Arizona. U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Supply Paper 1861. 53 pp.
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 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 14 Field Sites
Core Terrestrial | Arizona
Distance: 133 mi.
Relocatable Terrestrial | New Mexico
Distance: 281 mi.
Field Operations Office
2115 East Valencia Rd, Suite 131
Tucson, AZ 85706