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

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:20 PM


TROWBRIDGE, Wendy B., Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada, Reno, 1000 Valley Rd, Reno, 89512, GERMANOSKI, Dru, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042, LORD, Mark, Geosciences and Natural Resources, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, JEWETT, David, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ada, OK 74820, BAKER, Greg, Geology, Univ at Buffalo, 864 Natural Science Complex, Amherst, NY 14260 and CHAMBERS, Jeanne, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Reno, NV 89512, wtrowbridge@cabnr.unr.edu

The Great Basin Ecosystem Management Research group has described the hydrological, geophysical, and geomorphic conditions that lead to the formation and maintenance of riparian meadows of central Nevada. Previous work on these systems has focused on understanding a few study meadows in great detail. The logical next steps are to (1) look at more meadows throughout the central Great basin to investigate how broadly applicable these conclusions are and (2) to apply the knowledge gained in these specific studies to address the problem of meadow incision. Prior to this current phase of study, this was begun by examining the watershed level causes of sensitivity to stream incision. This study builds on this work by combining a watershed approach with a meadow specific approach. We are looking at both the local controls on meadow formation and maintenance, and how they relate to watershed level sensitivity. We used color enhanced satellite imagery to identify 1,300 previously unvisited riparian wetlands within the four target mountain ranges. We then narrowed this number down using topographic maps and aerial photos to 240 potential meadows, 170 of which were assessable by roads. By visiting some of these meadows we were able to further modify our selection criteria and narrow down the number of meadow visits to about 70 of the most promising meadows. 35 of these were chosen for intensive meadow study this summer. At each of these meadows we collected geomorphic data by surveying long profiles and cross sections, mapped and sampled vegetation communities, and mapped springs and geological controls on meadow persistence. The watershed level data on basin geology and morphometry was collected in the lab. The data collected for this study was used to categorize the meadows based on their potential stability and prioritize restoration activities in the region.