Intermittent streams and rivers account for over half of the world's waterways and yet they are still vastly understudied compared to permanent streams and rivers. Wichita State University Biological Field Station: Youngmeyer Ranch presents an opportunity to study intermittent streams and stream pools across 1902 hectares of Flint Hills tall grass prairie ecosystems. We used a freely available satellite imagery program (Google Earth Pro©) to map and provide an initial inventory of streams, intermittent stream pools, and cattle ponds. We also used historic images to create connectivity (percent of downstream length with water) and hydroperiod indices (number of years out of four that pools held water). In total, we mapped 58.2 km of major (2nd to 3rd order) and minor (1st order) streams, and 13 cattle pond impoundments on the property. We used a systematic random sample to select a subset of seven stream reaches (out of 83) within the property for on-the-ground surveys of intermittent stream pools. Within selected streams, a subset of 117 stream pools were sampled in the summer of 2020 and data was collected on the average stream pool width, max depth, length, volume, and biological communities. Stream pools averaged 6.5 ± 9.7 m3 (mean ± SD) in volume, 12.50 ± 9.3 m in length, 2.97 ± 1.7 m in width, and 0.38 ± 0.26 m in depth. Stream and stream pool permanence varied widely across the landscape with pools holding water 3.2 ± 0.8 out of the four years with high resolution satellite imagery. We provided an initial baseline of aquatic systems at Youngmeyer Ranch and characterized representative intermittent stream pools in the Flint Hills and the Great Plains. We also demonstrated the viability of using Google Earth Pro© for mapping and taking inventory of aquatic systems without proprietary software or on-site access.
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