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Riparian Zone Habitat Assessment. Vegetation and More. What is “riparian vegetation”?. Plants growing on the streambank and adjoining floodplain Plants in this area are influenced by the water from the stream. Riparian Zone. Riparian Vegetation Functions.

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Presentation Transcript
what is riparian vegetation
What is “riparian vegetation”?
  • Plants growing on the streambank and adjoining floodplain
  • Plants in this area are influenced by the water from the stream
riparian vegetation functions
Riparian Vegetation Functions
  • Roots stabilize banks / reduce erosion
  • Provide structure or cover for fish
  • Taller vegetation provides shade
  • Organic food source for aquatic organisms
    • Leaves
    • Terrestrial insects
riparian vegetation functions5
Riparian Vegetation Functions
  • Pollutant filtering
  • Fall into stream – large woody debris
    • Shapes channel
    • Substrate for biological activity
relationship to water quality
Relationship to Water Quality
  • Turbidity / Sediment
  • Phosphorus
  • Temperature (Shade)
  • Nutrient Uptake
  • Nutrient Release (Alder)
two ways to assess a riparian zone
Plant Presence

Habitat Quality

Actual Diversity

Invasive Species

Changes over time

Riparian Assessment

Stability

Shade

Invasive Species

Large Wood Recruitment

Considers non-vegetative stable substrates

Two Ways to Assess a Riparian Zone
riparian assessment
Riparian Assessment
  • Can be broken into 3 sections:
    • a 100’ riparian transect perpendicular to the stream,
    • a 100’ “greenline” transect along the stream,
    • a riparian tree count performed in a 100 sq ft area along the stream
slide9

Riparian Transect

100ft X 10ft

Zone 3

Zone 2

Zone 1

FLOW

Greenline Transect

100ft X 5 ft

Riffle

Gravel bar

Pool

Starting point

riparian assessment10
Riparian Assessment
  • Total area = 100 ft x 100 ft (30 m2)
  • Instructions in feet and meters
  • Starting point is at beginning of first (downstream) habitat unit
riparian transect

Zone 3

Zone 2

Zone 1

FLOW

Riffle

Gravel bar

Pool

Riparian Transect

Each zone is 10 meters (33 feet) long

Total transect length = 30 meters (100 feet)

riparian transect12
Riparian Transect

Width

10 feet

STREAM

Estimate % cover by 10-20 % increments

May have more or less than 100 feet of “riparian zone”

Length

11 feet

measure slope
Measure Slope

Zone 2

Zone 3

Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 1

10°

25°

40°

55°

greenline transect
Greenline Transect

GREENLINE – the first strip of vegetation along the stream

STREAM

Length

11 feet

Width

5 feet

riparian tree count

Zone 3

Zone 2

Zone 1

FLOW

Riffle

Gravel bar

Pool

Riparian Tree Count

Conifer

Deciduous

tree size class
Tree Size Class

Circumference

Diameter = Circumference

(approx. 3.14)

Diameter

what does it tell us
What Does it Tell Us?
  • Riparian and Greenline Transects
    • Extent and diversity of riparian zone
    • Stability
    • Invasive species
  • Riparian Tree Count
    • Age-class diversity
    • Large woody debris recruitment (old growth conifer, >35”, is MOST desirable)
evaluation of recruitment
Evaluation of recruitment
  • How many trees of varying size are present in the riparian zone?
  • How close/far are they from the water?
  • Over what time period might they become available?
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