Long‐term hydro‐meteorology and water quality data from low‐gradient catchments of varying scales on the Santee experimental Forest, South Carolina
The forest landscape of the Southeastern Atlantic coastal plain of the United Statesis experiencing increased threats from extreme precipitation events, tropical storms,flooding, droughts, and growing urbanization impacting on vegetation, road infrastructure,water extraction and other related ecosystem processes (e.g., storm runoff,nutrient and carbon cycling) and functions (e.g., flood protection, aquatic habitat).We describe ongoing hydro-meteorologic monitoring on two first-(1.6 km2 each),the second-(5 km2), and the third-(52.5 km2) order catchments. The catchments arelocated on the Santee Experimental Forest at the headwaters of the Cooper Riverthat drains into Charleston Harbour, South Carolina. Monitoring started in 1946, witha gap between 1982 and 1989, includes precipitation, weather, streamflow, watertable, and water quality (anions, cations, and physical parameters) at varying temporalscales. The catchments are forest ecosystems dominated by loblolly (Pinus taeda) andlongleaf pine (Pinus palustris) (LLP) mixed hardwood stands on the uplands and bottomlandhardwoods on well-drained to poorly-drained soils characteristic of the lowgradientAtlantic Coastal Plain. These data support multiple field and modelling studies,ranging from water and carbon budgets to hydrologic and biogeochemical processesto effects of microtopography and extreme climate on hydrology and waterquality of these coastal catchments withstands regenerated since Hurricane Hugo(1989). One significant finding from the long-term data was a reversal of the pre-Hugo flow pattern between the paired watersheds 3 years after Hugo. This reversal persisted for 10 years and was attributed to change in forest vegetation due to hurricanedamage to older pine and larger hardwood stands followed by delayed regenerationbefore full forest recovery. These publicly available data serve as a referencewithin a rapidly developing landscape and also for addressing potential impacts ofextreme climate and forest disturbance on ecohydrology, biogeochemistry, habitat,water supply and infrastructure using validated models and tools.