About Field Sites
Lower Hop Brook (HOPB) is an aquatic site located west of Harvard Forest in Franklin County, Massachusetts and is hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Division of Water Supply Protection. The wadeable 3rd-4th order stream flows over a 12.8 km2 (3160 acre) watershed into the Quabbin Reservoir. The site's dominant land cover is evergreen and mixed forest. HOPB is located in the Northeast Domain (D01), which encompasses the New England and northern Eastern Seaboard states along with the northern end of the Appalachian range. D01 includes one other terrestrial site and one aquatic site. HOPB is located near the Harvard Forest (HARV) terrestrial site. 
The climate at HOPB is cool and temperate. The mean annual temperature hovers around 7.9°C (46°F), with the coldest months averaging around -6.6°C (20°F) and the warmest 20°C (68°F). Annual precipitation in the Quabbin Reservoir watershed is about 1367 mm (53 in.) per year, with September being the wettest month and February being the driest. The average annual snow depth in the watershed is around 1193 mm (47 in.).  
The Quabbin Reservoir is generally characterized by metamorphic rocks with intrusion of schist and gneiss. The Lower Hop Brook's geology is characterized by the Connecticut Valley Belt schist and the stream consists of a mixture of substrates ranging from sand and cobbles to boulders.    
Lower Hop Brook substrate is primarily composed of sand/gravel, cobbles, and boulders. 
The Lower Hop Brook is a 3rd-4th order stream located in the Quabbin Watershed, which is home to one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the United States. The clear-water stream has a moderate grade with increasing grading towards the outlet. Minimal beaver activity (dams, ponds) occurs in upper portions of the reach. Large debris dams characterize the reach downstream. This area tends to have high spring flows due to spring snowmelt and lower flows during the summer and fall. The Hop Brook accounts for approximately 2% of annual flow into the Quabbin Reservoir.  
Stream riparian vegetation consists primarily of mixed deciduous hardwood forest with primarily beech, oak, maple trees, and interspersed pines towards the outlet. Shrubs make up less than 20% of the understory. 
Hop Brook and the Quabbin Reservoir are home to a variety of aquatic fauna including various species of fish and salamanders. Freshwater fish species typically found at Hop Brook are brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), eastern blacknose dace (Rhninichthys atratulus), and creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus). 
Past Land Management and Use
The Quabbin Reservoir was built in the 1930s to help supply adequate clean fresh water to the Boston metropolitan area. The reservoir was made by using the Winsor Dam to impound the Swift River and flood an area formerly occupied by the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Additionally, diversions from the Ware River were conveyed into the reservoir via tunnel aqueduct. In 2003, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Division of Water Supply Protection and the Office of Watershed took over management of the reservoir to supply and deliver the Boston area with water. 
Current Land Management and Use
Since the inception of the Quabbin Reservoir in 1930, local legislation has been passed to protect the drinking water supply and flora and fauna. More recently, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Water Supply Protection, and Office of Watershed Management are currently the dedicated entities in charge of land management for the Quabbin Reservoir. Research from state, federal, and academic organizations is ongoing to determine hydrological, biogeochemical and ecological dynamics to help with New England resource management. 93% of the watershed is covered in forest or wetland, and less than 5% of the watershed has been developed for agriculture, residential, or commercial uses. 
NEON Site Establishment
The Domain 01 support facility in Fitchburg, MA was constructed in June 2013. Initial site characterization for HOPB began in February 2016. Aquatic observational sampling began the following November, and aquatic instrumentation transitioned to operations in August 2017. Limited external research occurred in this area; however, additional caution during construction was needed to limit the impacts to the Quabbin Reservoir. 
 Aquatic Instrument System (AIS) Site Characterization Report: Domain 01. NEON.DOC.001588vB
 NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network). 2020. Data Product DP1.20107.001, Fish electrofishing, gill netting, and fyke netting counts. Provisional data downloaded from http://data.neonscience.org on May 6, 2020.
 Michael SanClements, Robert H Lee, E D Ayres, Keli Goodman, Morgan Jones, David Durden, Katherine Thibault, Rommel Zulueta, Joshua Roberti, Claire Lunch, Adrian Gallo, Collaborating with NEON, BioScience, Volume 70, Issue 2, February 2020, Page 107, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biaa005.
 Jenkins, J., Motzkin, G., & Ward, K. (2008). The Harvard forest flora : an inventory, analysis and ecological history. Petersham (Mass.): Harvard university.
 U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Mineral Resources Data System: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia. https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/.
 PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, http://prism.oregonstate.edu, created 4 Feb 2004.
Remote sensing surveys of this field site collect lidar, spectrometer and high-resolution RGB camera data.
This site has a 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.
Field Site Data
Massachusetts DCR Division of Water Supply Protection
Site Access Allowed
Site Access Details
Field site located in the Quabbin Resevoir - Massachusetts DCR Division of Water Supply Protection . This property is very limited to additional research - researchers should take necessary coordinations with the DCR.
NEON Field Operations Office
Domain 01 Support Facility
NEON Field Operations Address
166 Boulder Drive, Suite 101
Fitchburg, MA 01420
NEON Field Operations Phone
Mean Annual Temperature
Mean Annual Precipitation
Dominant NLCD Classes
Evergreen Forest, Mixed Forest
USGS Geology Unit
USGS Geology Name
USGS Lithologic Constituents
Sulfidic mica schist and subordinate amphibolite
USGS Geology Age
Related Field Sites
Other Domain D01 Field Sites
Other Field Sites in MA