2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 4:10 PM


SPRINGER, Abraham E.1, STEVENS, Lawrence E. and KLOEPPEL, Heidi1, (1)Department of Geology, Northern Arizona Univ, Box 4099, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, abe.springer@nau.edu

Many riparian corridors in semi-arid and arid regions have their headwaters at springs. There are over 5,000 named springs on the Colorado Plateau, and many more undescribed, that have played both an important cultural and biological role in this area. The lack of a comprehensive springs classification system has resulted in insufficient and inadequate inventories, ecological assessments, and conservation measures for these ecosystems. Integration of the hydrological, geological, ecological, and cultural characteristics of springs ecosystems provides a much needed means of classifying the types and distribution of these important landscape features. In 2005, an interdisciplinary team was assembled to conduct inventories and classification of over 70 springs across 28 units of the National Park Service on the Northern and Southern Colorado Plateau Inventory and Monitoring Networks. Because almost all previous spring inventories have been conducted by individual resource specialists, the interdisciplinary team inventory with application to a recently created spring classification system has laid the foundation for future monitoring efforts at these valuable ecosystems. The inventory involved a detailed documentation of site conditions, hydrology, geomorphology, biota, and some human impacts. The presence and distribution of endemic and rare species, potential threats, visitor impacts, culinary uses were identified, and analyses of springs ecosystem function were conducted. The analysis of the inventory data helped to determine the condition and biological importance of the spring ecosystem to identify the potential need for long-term monitoring and restoration.