Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Watershed Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Karin Kettenring


Karin Kettenring


Brett Roper


F. E. Busby


Monitoring changes in vegetation is important on public lands. Observing how plant communities respond to changes in land management can give insightful information about which management practices are sustainable. Because water is scarce in the western United States, many land managers focus their monitoring efforts along streams. However, monitoring streamside vegetation is challenging due to a variety of factors and can be confounded by factors such as seasonal climate variation and management activities, like cattle grazing.

In vegetation assessment, there are a variety of measurements that are taken to glean valuable information. Some attributes of interest include how much vegetation is present, how many species are present, and what the composition of species is. Furthermore, there are a variety of methodologies that can be employed and the type of plot that is used may affect the outcome of the results.

In this study, we were interested in improving the assessments of vegetation monitoring efforts in streamside plant communities. We focused our efforts on understanding how attributes of the plant community responded to seasonal variation and cattle grazing. We also tested two types of plots to see which was most appropriate for streamside monitoring. We found that some attributes responded to seasonal climate variation, while others were unaffected. We also found that some attributes responded to cattle grazing and others did not. Last we found that permanent plots were unnecessary. Research was conducted by Caroline M. Laine and advisor, Dr. Karin Kettenring from 2009-2011.




Publication made available electronically December 21, 2011.