Hydrologic calibration of paired watersheds using a MOSUM approach
Paired watershed studies have historically been used to quantify hydrologic effects of land use and management practices by concurrently monitoring two neighboring watersheds (a control and a treatment) during the calibration (pre-treatment) and post-treatment periods. This study characterizes seasonal water table and flow response to rainfall during the calibration period and tests a change detection technique of moving sums of recursive residuals (MOSUM) to select calibration periods for each control-treatment watershed pair when the regression coefficients for daily water table elevation (WTE) were most stable to reduce regression model uncertainty. The control and treatment watersheds included 1–3 year intensively managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) with natural understory, same age loblolly pine intercropped with switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), 14–15 year thinned loblolly pine with natural understory (control), and switchgrass only. Although monitoring during the calibration period spanned 2009 to 2012, silvicultural operational practices that occurred during this period such as harvesting of existing stand and site preparation for pine and switchgrass establishment may have acted as external factors, potentially shifting hydrologic calibration relationships between control and treatment watersheds. Results indicated that MOSUM was able to detect significant changes in regression parameters for WTE due to silvicultural operations. This approach also minimized uncertainty of calibration relationships which could otherwise mask marginal treatment effects. All calibration relationships developed using this MOSUM method were quantifiable, strong, and consistent with Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) greater than 0.97 for WTE and NSE greater than 0.92 for daily flow, indicating its applicability for choosing calibration periods of paired watershed studies.