Flooding regime and restoration of riparian ecosystem integrity
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Flooding Regime and Restoration of Riparian Ecosystem Integrity. University of New Mexico Department of Biology J.F. Schuetz, M.C. Molles, Jr., C.N. Dahm and C.S. Crawford. Why are we studying the Middle Rio Grande riparian forest?. Damming and diversion of the river

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Flooding Regime and Restoration of Riparian Ecosystem Integrity

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Flooding regime and restoration of riparian ecosystem integrity

Flooding Regime and Restoration of Riparian Ecosystem Integrity

University of New Mexico

Department of Biology

J.F. Schuetz, M.C. Molles, Jr., C.N. Dahm and C.S. Crawford


Why are we studying the middle rio grande riparian forest

Why are we studying the Middle Rio Grande riparian forest?

  • Damming and diversion of the river

  • Altered volume and timing of the Rio Grande’s flow

  • Isolated riparian forest (bosque)

  • Reduced cottonwood germination; aging forest

  • Invasion by exotic plants

  • Limited scientific data to assess the ecological benefits of managed flooding


Subsystems under study and hypotheses

Subsystems Under Study and Hypotheses

H

/predictions

°

woody debris

leaf litter

Soils/

water table

Vadose

Zone

Schematic

Subsystems

For flooded vs.

nonflooded

sites:

i) C:N & C:P in new leaf tissue

ii) root growth/biomass

iii) litterfall, C:N in litterfall

Cottonwoods

iv) flowering

v) defoliation

i) leaf decomposition

ii) forest floor respiration

Forest Floor

iii) native

detritivores

i) variation in water table depth

ii) soil moisture

iii) net N mineralization

i) interstitial DO

Alluvial Aquifer

ii) conductivity (salinity)


Study sites

Study Sites


Total leaf biomass native non cottonwood leaf biomass wood falling from the canopy

Total leaf biomassNative, non-cottonwood leaf biomassWood falling from the canopy

Preliminary Results


Coarse woody debris

Coarse woody debris


Pitfall traps collecting ground arthropods

Pitfall traps – collecting ground arthropods


Forest floor litter storage

Forest floor litter storage


Soil moisture throughout a depth of 1 meter

Soil moisture throughout a depth of 1 meter


Net nitrogen mineralization

Net nitrogen mineralization


Groundwater levels

Groundwater levels


Flooding regime and restoration of riparian ecosystem integrity

What do we do with our results?

  • Contribute to the knowledge base of the scientific community – river restoration worldwide

  • Provide local natural resource managers and water policy-makers with information to make decisions on the use of managed floods – costs and benefits

  • Part of a larger initiative on restoring the river and bosque: Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service; Bosque Ecological Monitoring Project (BEMP); classes at UNM


Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

Funding agency: National Science Foundation Grant DEB-9903973

Undergraduate assistance: Karyth Becenti, Nate Bohls, Sam Gray, Leslie Barker, Joseph O’Connell, Nick Johnson, Ben Zimmerman

Cooperating agencies and institutions:

Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

City of Albuquerque Open Space Division

New Mexico State Land Office

Rio Grande Nature Center

Grinnell College

The Nature Conservancy


Questions comments

Questions/Comments

http://sevilleta.unm.edu/~cdahm/Research/CRB/home/index.html


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