Water Quality Changes Caused by a Recent Fire and the Effects on the Tavasci Marsh Ecosystem

Primary Investigators

USGS Investigators: Nick Paretti

NPS Investigators: Sara Eno

Project Details

Start Year: 2024

Category: Technical Assistance

Project Location

NPS Park: Tuzigoot NM

USGS Center: Arizona Water Science Center

States: AZ

The National Park Service manages Tavasci Marsh, relying on past studies based in an ecosystem with a stable water supply from the Verde River and Pecks Lake. Flooding in February 2019 and a fire in 2023 have changed the water inflow patterns and the ecological function of the marsh. National Park Service (NPS) resource managers are uncertain what the long-term effects of this water reduction are on the ecological and hydrological conditions of the Marsh.

This study will establish the post-Verde River water supply and post-fire conditions this fall and again in the spring to understand the current water quality conditions and the seasonal change one year after the fire. In addition, the study will help to characterize water quality without Verde River contributions. This data can be compared to data collected 10 years ago to assess contaminant changes as well as a baseline for continued monitoring in Tavasci Marsh.

Measuring water, sediment, shallow sediment cores, and burnt cattails will provide an overall measure of ecological drivers that affect the marsh ecosystem as it returns to a new equilibrium. The timing is urgent because the marsh is likely rapidly changing as the marsh recovers from the recent fire.