Event Title

Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment Protocol: A New Approach to Assessing Riparian Habitat

Presenter Information

Allison L. Jones

Location

Ellen Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

https://forestry.usu.edu/htm/video/conferences/restoring-the-west-conference-2014/

Abstract

A recent collaboration of regional scientists developed and field-tested a new ecological health assessment tool that is relevant to most of the lower elevation stream and riparian habitat of the intermountain West. The Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment Protocol determines health and function of lower elevation stream reaches and larger river tributaries, by rapidly evaluating the current health of streams and adjacent riparian areas. The method uses a series of simple but scientifically-based indicators to measure how much the stream system differs from what would be expected under unaltered (reference) conditions. This method utilizes a whole ecosystem approach, and considers water quality, fluvial geomorphology, condition of the aquatic habitat for fish and invertebrates, structure and productivity of terrestrial vegetation, and quality of wildlife habitat. Because it is based upon quantitative measures and can be completed by trained personnel and volunteers in a short time, RSRA can be used to survey numerous reaches throughout an entire watershed, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of restoration programs at both the local project and watershed levels. This method therefore provides the opportunity to populate the RSRA on-line database, built for this purpose, that will not only allow us to determine and rank which systems are in the worst condition, but it also will allow us to measure over time the success of restoration efforts. This poster presentation will report on Citizen-based stream monitoring, using this new protocol, which is underway in various parts of the Colorado Plateau, and the implications for stream restoration efforts.

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Oct 21st, 8:40 AM Oct 21st, 8:50 AM

Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment Protocol: A New Approach to Assessing Riparian Habitat

Ellen Eccles Conference Center

A recent collaboration of regional scientists developed and field-tested a new ecological health assessment tool that is relevant to most of the lower elevation stream and riparian habitat of the intermountain West. The Rapid Stream-Riparian Assessment Protocol determines health and function of lower elevation stream reaches and larger river tributaries, by rapidly evaluating the current health of streams and adjacent riparian areas. The method uses a series of simple but scientifically-based indicators to measure how much the stream system differs from what would be expected under unaltered (reference) conditions. This method utilizes a whole ecosystem approach, and considers water quality, fluvial geomorphology, condition of the aquatic habitat for fish and invertebrates, structure and productivity of terrestrial vegetation, and quality of wildlife habitat. Because it is based upon quantitative measures and can be completed by trained personnel and volunteers in a short time, RSRA can be used to survey numerous reaches throughout an entire watershed, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of restoration programs at both the local project and watershed levels. This method therefore provides the opportunity to populate the RSRA on-line database, built for this purpose, that will not only allow us to determine and rank which systems are in the worst condition, but it also will allow us to measure over time the success of restoration efforts. This poster presentation will report on Citizen-based stream monitoring, using this new protocol, which is underway in various parts of the Colorado Plateau, and the implications for stream restoration efforts.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2014/Posters/13