About Field Sites
Teakettle 2 Creek (TECR) is an aquatic NEON field site located in the Sierra National Forest, 80 km (50 mi.) east of Fresno, CA, near Courtright and Wishon Reservoirs. It is a wadeable stream on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a watershed size of approximately 3.0 km2 (740 acres). The TECR catchment is entirely located within the Teakettle Experimental Forest (TEF), which is located in the northern part of the Kings River watershed. The TEF was established in 1936 for timber management research and is owned and operated by the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station. TECR is located at an elevation that spans 2109 - 2489 m (6900 - 8166 ft.). The TECR watershed is southeast-facing and passes through senescent red fir. TECR is part of the Pacific Southwest Domain (D17), which is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east, and encompasses most of California. There are four other NEON field sites in D17, including three terrestrial sites and one additional aquatic site. TECR is colocated with the NEON terrestrial site Lower Teakettle (TEAK). 
The Sierra Nevada mountain range, influenced by the Mediterranean climate of adjacent California regions, is characterized by a cold forest climate in which precipitation falls mostly as snow in winter and summers are warm and dry. Typical of the Sierra Nevada range, the climate at Teakettle Creek is also characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters. The mean annual temperature is 8.7°C (48°F). Low humidity results in surface temperatures being strongly influenced by canopy. The difference in temperature between open and closed canopy areas can be as much as 30°C (50°F), particularly during high summer temperatures. The mean annual precipitation is 1174.9 mm (46.25 in.), the majority of which falls as snow. Snowfall occurs between November and May, with snowpack fully melting by late May or early June.   
The Teakettle 2 Creek watershed lies in the Sierra Nevada batholith within the southern extent of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This batholith is comprised mainly of granodiorite and quartz monzonite and was formed approximately 200 million years ago.  
Major soil series that are mapped near the TECR site include Cannell (Coarse-loamy, mixed, superactive, frigid Typic Dystroxerepts), Cagwin (Mixed, frigid Dystric Xeropsamments), and Stecum (Sandy-skeletal, mixed Typic Cryorthents). The soils in the region are poorly formed due to the climate (cold winters, dry summers), the resistance of the granite to weathering, and the removal of eroded material into drainages before further weather and soil formation can occur. Therefore, soils in this region have low horizonation, clay content, and weak structure. Weathering of granite rocks results in runoff with low dissolved solid content and leads to low nutrient waters.      
The flow regime of Teakettle Creek (TECR) is typical of snowmelt-dominated mountainous streams in the west. Base flows are lowest in the winter (November - March) and highest in the late spring (April – June). TECR has a mean base flow of 11 liters per second in the autumn months. Snow melt begins in March and peaks in June. Discharge during the peak flow months of May and June is approximately 18 times greater than base flow. 
Teakettle Creek is located in the Teakettle Experimental Forest, a subalpine forest that is dominated by a mix of conifers. Vegetation is characterized by distinct patch conditions of closed-canopy tree clusters, persistent gaps, and shrub thickets. The composition of the vegetation follows the elevation gradient with white fir (Abies concolor), sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana), incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi), and red fir (Abies magnifica) at the lower elevations, to red fir, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), and western white pine (Pinus monticola) at higher elevations. The riparian area is extremely dense with shrubs. 
TECR hosts the non-indigenous brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Native to the eastern United States, brook trout were introduced to California in 1872. Fishes native to the Sierra Nevada include Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), California roach (Lavinia symmetricus), hardhead (Mylopharodon conocephalus), and riffle sculpin (Cottus gulosus). The Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierra), mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa), and Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus canorus) are threatened or endangered amphibians that occur at Teakettle Creek.    
Past Land Management and Use
In the 1930s, state and federal agencies sought to increase the water supply of the California central valley via management of Sierra Nevada watersheds. In 1938, five Teakettle Creek drainages were selected for study, and the surrounding 13 km2 (3200 acres) was named the Teakettle Experimental Area. From 1938 to 1942, hydrology research began as stream-gauging stations and sediment basins were constructed. Research halted for 14 years due to World War II. In 1957, records of snowfall and water yields were collected again and studies were resumed. The area was renamed the Teakettle Experimental Forest (TEF) the following year.
The original research objective of the TEF was to determine how water yield could be increased via timber harvest patterns. However, studies conducted in the 1950s and 1960s at other Sierra Nevada watersheds demonstrated that timber harvests had little effect on water yield. From the 1960s to 1980s, the focus of TEF research shifted to the effects of weather patterns on water flow. This study ended in the 1980s due to budget constraints and logistical difficulties. In the 1980s and 1990s, TEF research shifted again to studies of snag dynamics and songbirds. A large ecological study comparing the effects of fire and tree thinning on the ecosystem, known as the Teakettle Experiment, began in 1998 and continues today.
The dominant forest types of the Sierra Nevada are fire-adapted and have been impacted by logging and fire suppression since the 1930s. Wildfires in the area are most often started by lightning strikes. During natural fire regimes, riparian areas buffer aquatic ecosystems by disrupting the spread of fires and burning at lower severity. Fire suppression can lead to fuels accumulating, resulting in higher intensity fires. Prescribed fires and tree thinning have had benign impacts on riparian and aquatic ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada.  
Current Land Management and Use
The Teakettle 2 Creek (TECR) catchment is entirely located within the Teakettle Experimental Forest (TEF), which is located in the north part of the Kings River watershed. The TEF is owned and operated by the United States Forest Service (USFS) Pacific Southwest (PSW) Research Station. The PSW Research Station is part of the research and development arm of the Forest Service, which operates six other research stations and 81 experimental forests and ranges, including the Teakettle Experimental Forest (TEF). A large, ongoing experiment at the TEF is comparing the effects of fire and tree thinning on the ecosystem.
The Teakettle 3 Creek, just northeast of TECR, is currently being monitored and controlled for projects that are managed by the USFS PSW and the Kings River Experimental Watershed (KREW). The KREW is an ecosystem project examining the effects of fire and tree thinning on streams and riparian areas.    
NEON Site Establishment
Site characterization for TECR began in January 2016 and establishment was completed in November 2017. The aquatic observation system (AOS) began sampling in October 2018. The aquatic instrumentation system (AIS) began streaming in December 2018. 
 Aquatic Instrument System (AIS) Site Characterization Report: Domain 17. NEON.DOC.003536vA.
 U.S. Geological Survey, 2005, Mineral Resources Data System: U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia. https://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/
 Adams, Mary Beth; Loughry, Linda; Plaugher, Linda, comps. 2004. Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-321. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 178 p. GTR-NE-321
 PRISM Climate Group., Oregon State University, http://prism.oregonstate.edu, created 4 Feb 2004.
 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 1, 2020.
 Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2020, Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=939, Revision Date: 6/6/2019, Peer Review Date: 9/30/2015, Access Date: 5/1/2020
 Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress, vol. II, Assessments and scientific basis for management options. Davis: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources, 1996.
 NEON Domain 17 federal & state RTE species lists
 O’Geen, A., M. Safeeq, J. Wagenbrenner, E. Stacy, P. Hartsough, S. Devine, Z. Tian, R. Ferrell, M. Goulden, J.W. Hopmans, and R. Bales. 2018. Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory and Kings River Experimental Watersheds: A synthesis of measurements, new insights, and future directions. Vadose Zone J. 17:180081. doi:10.2136/vzj2018.04.0081
 North, Malcolm; Oakley, Brian; Chen, Jiquan; Erickson, Heather; Gray, Andrew; Izzo, Antonio; Johnson, Dale; Ma, Siyan; Marra, Jim; Meyer, Marc; Purcell, Kathryn; Rambo, Tom; Rizzo, Dave; Roath, Brent; Schowalter, Tim. 2002. Vegetation and Ecological Characteristics of Mixed-Conifer and Red Fir Forests at the Teakettle Experimental Forest. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-186. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; 52 p.
 Hunsaker, C.T.; Long, J.W. 2014. Forested riparian areas. In: Long, J.W.; Quinn-Davidson, L.; Skinner, C.N., eds. Science synthesis to support socioecological resilience in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascade Range. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-247. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 323-340. Chap. 6.2.
Remote sensing surveys of this field 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.
Field Site Data
US Forest Service
Site Access Allowed
Site Access Details
Researchers should coordinate directly with the US Forest Service for permitting and approval.
NEON Field Operations Office
NEON Field Operations Address
4727 West Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93722
NEON Field Operations Phone
Mean Annual Temperature
Mean Annual Precipitation
Dominant NLCD Classes
USGS Geology Unit
USGS Geology Name
Mesozoic granitic rocks, unit 3 (Sierra Nevada, Death Valley area, Northern Mojave Desert and Transverse Ranges)
USGS Lithologic Constituents
Primarily granodiorite, tonalite, quartz monzonite, and granite
USGS Geology Age
Permian to Tertiary; most Mesozoic
Other Domain D17 Field Sites
Other Field Sites in CA