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

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:20 PM


JEWETT, David G.1, CHAMBERS, Jeanne C.2, MILLER, Jerry R.3, LORD, Mark L.3, GERMANOSKI, Dru4 and BAKER, Gregory S.5, (1)National Risk Management Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, P.O. Box 1198, Ada, OK 74820, (2)Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 920 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512, (3)Geosciences & Natural Resources Management, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, (4)Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042, (5)Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, jewett.david@epa.gov

Riparian corridor and meadow ecosystems in upland watersheds are of local and regional importance in the Great Basin. Covering only 1-3% of the total land area, these ecosystems contain a disproportionally large percentage of the region's biodiversity. Stream incision is a major threat to these sensitive ecosystems. Rapid downcutting due to natural and anthropogenic disturbances lowers local water tables. Riparian vegetation requiring saturated soils or shallow water tables is then eliminated in favor of drier vegetation communities and valuable habitat is lost. Many of these upland watersheds are located in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and understanding the structure and function of riparian meadows and the impact of stream incision on these ecosystems has been a concern of the USDA Forest Service. Recently the Forest Service partnered with the U.S. EPA's Ecosystem Restoration and Risk Management Research Program. The objective of this EPA program is to conduct ecological protection and restoration research in order to provide scientifically defensible methods for resource managers to manage, rehabilitate, or restore ecosystems of local, regional, and national importance. A multidisciplinary research team of scientists from government and academia has been working to better understand the geologic and geomorphic settings, surface and subsurface hydrologic regimes, and vegetation patterns of upland riparian meadow systems in central Nevada. Additional investigations to date include mapping riparian corridor/meadow distribution, determining basin sensitivity to stream incision, characterizing levels of stream entrenchment and meadow degradation, prioritizing ecosystem degradation and restoration potential to better direct available resources, and evaluating the success of restoration alternatives. Results from this research will provide resource managers with information needed to successfully manage and restore threatened riparian ecosystems throughout upland watersheds in the Great Basin.

(Note: this is an abstract of a proposed presentation. It has not been subjected to EPA review and does not necessarily reflect Agency policy.)