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Reference Conditions for Wetland Restoration

Reference Conditions for Wetland Restoration. And implications to restoration planning. ENV 794 Lindsay Chiquoine. Henderson Bird Preserve Spring 2010. Principles for the Ecological Restoration of Aquatic Resources. Focus on feasibility Use reference sites Anticipate future changes

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Reference Conditions for Wetland Restoration

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  1. Reference Conditions for Wetland Restoration And implications to restoration planning ENV 794 Lindsay Chiquoine Henderson Bird Preserve Spring 2010

  2. Principles for the Ecological Restoration of Aquatic Resources • Focus on feasibility • Use reference sites • Anticipate future changes • Involve a multi-disciplinary team • Design for self-sustainability • Use passive restoration, when appropriate • Restore native species, avoid non-native species • Use natural fixes and bioengineering • Monitor and adapt where changes are necessary • Preserve and protect aquatic resources • Restore ecological integrity • Restore natural structure • Restore natural function • Work within the watershed/landscape context • Understand the potential of the watershed • Address ongoing causes of degradation • Develop clear, achievable and measurable goals USEPA, 2000. Principles for the Ecological Restoration of Aquatic Resources. EPA841-F-00-003. Office of Water (4501F), United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 4 pp. <http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/principles.html>.

  3. Reference sites Areas that are • comparable in structure and function to the proposed restoration site before it was degraded1 • used as models for restoration projects, and used for measuring the progress of the project1 Reference Wetlands: • Sites within a specified geographic region chosen for purpose of functional assessment and encompass known variation of a group or class of wetlands2 • Role of reference wetlands: • Reference standards: represent conditions exhibited by subset of reference wetlands that correspond to highest level of functioning of the ecosystem across multiple functions2 1http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/principles.html#10 2Brinson & Rheinhardt. 1996. The role of reference wetlands in functional assessment and mitigation. Ecological Applications, 6(1):69-76.

  4. Reference Wetlands1 Ideas to remember - • Unique qualities • No two aquatic systems are truly identical • Historical conditions may be unknown or sites may be altered compared to their historical condition • Important to tailor project to the given situation and account for any differences between the reference site and the area being restored • Assist in establishing goals for restoration 1http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/principles.html#10

  5. Advantages to a reference wetland approach1 • Standards for analysis of wetland function • Framework – baseline to measure decline or recovery of functions • Creates baseline for assessment of gains and loses of functions in system • Representation of inherently highly functioning sites that share similar geomorphic settings • Provides templates to which restored and created wetlands can be designed • Make explicit the goals 1Brinson & Rheinhardt. 1996. The role of reference wetlands in functional assessment and mitigation. Ecological Applications, 6(1):69-76.

  6. Issues with using reference wetlands Henderson Bird Preserve, Henderson, NV • Using reference conditions that are from degraded sites • Setting reference condition standards higher than can be sustained by the wetland system • Giving primary to individual functions at the expense of other functions or wetland ecosystems http://www.allaboutkaren.com/?tag=henderson-bird-preserve

  7. Choosing methods/tools • Method for selecting reference conditions vary depending on project goals, level of accuracy desired, the number of potential sites available, and the level of funding allocated to monitoring • Use of appropriate reference conditions for comparison to be able to evaluate, analyze, and interpret data collected from a restored area • Wetland functions1 - a process or series of processes that take place within a wetland • Include storage of water, transformation of nutrients, growth of living matter, and diversity of wetland plants • Value for wetland itself, for surrounding ecosystems, and for people • 1 http://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/functions.html

  8. Ecological Assessment Methods Database George Manson University with funding assistance from National Park Service provides a list of assessment methods and the ability to compare and contrast the different methods (NBII) Several methods can be useful tools for evaluating wetlands - focusing on functional assessment to use for reference wetlands1 - vs. focus on a particular function or species - utilizing assessment databases (National Wetlands Inventory) point classification system to correlate similar wetlands or use statistical tools, such as cluster analysis, to identify wetland systems that are similar2 1Brinson & Rheinhardt. 1996. The role of reference wetlands in functional assessment and mitigation. Ecological Applications, 6(1):69-76. 2Harris, Richard. 1999. Defining reference conditions for restoration of riparian plant communities: examples from California, USA. Environmental Management, 24(1):55-63.

  9. Four General Types of Approaches for Wetlands Assessment • Inventory and classification • Objective- describe areal extent and/or types of wetlands • Ex: National Wetland Inventory maps, watershed-based GIS data, remote sensing • Rapid assessment protocols • Subjective –tending, qualitative • Focus on single systems or small populations of wetlands • Data-driven assessment methods • Model-based to produce predictive values • Ex: Hydrogeomorphic method (HGM) • Bio-indicator/indices of biotic integrity • Selection of set variables to measure across wetland types • Not necessarily reliable for assessment of functional capacity • Ex: Indices of Biological Integrity (Birds, Plants, fish, invertebrates); Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index; Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP)

  10. Functions and Functional Assessment1 Assessment methods determine levels of functioning • absolute measurements (rates of nutrient cycling) or • measurements relative to some reference standard (75% of expected species richness) Four general categories have been used for wetlands: • Hydrologic • Biogeochemical • Plant communities • Animal communities Other functions – site water balance, energy flow, nutrient cycling, species diversity can also be used for assessment Influence on wetland functions include geographic locations, climate conditions, quantity and quality of water entering the wetland, and disturbances or alterations of systems 1http://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/functions.html

  11. Examples of methods • Widely used method: Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET)- developed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Federal Highway Administration, assigns values to specific functions of individual wetlands • Environmental Monitoring Assessment Program—Wetlands (EMAP-Wetlands) – developed by the Environmental Protection Agency • The Hydrogeomorphic Method (HGM) for Wetland Assessment – developed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for the U. S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

  12. Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET) Purpose1 – provide a technique that assesses most of the recognized wetland functions and values, is applicable to a wide variety of wetland types, is standardized and rapid, and is well-documented with scientific literature. Functions include physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of a wetland • 11 functions and values measured on a nominal scale2 • Ground water recharge and discharge • Flood flow alteration • Sediment stabilization, sediment/toxicant retention • Nutrient removal/transformation • Production export • Wildlife diversity/abundance • Aquatic diversity/abundance • Recreation • Uniqueness/heritage Evaluates functions in terms of effectiveness, opportunity, social significance, and habitat suitability (overlap of objective and subjective) 1http://assessmentmethods.nbii.gov/index.jsp?page=mdetail&mid=121 2http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/emrrp/emris/emrishelp6/wetland_evaluation_technique_tools.htm

  13. Environmental Monitoring Assessment Program - Wetlands • Aimed at developing tools to monitor and assess the status and trends of national ecological resources • Quantitative classifications based on three different areas of focus • Physical habitat characterization (#organism present, stream flow) • Water chemistry characterization (chemical analysis) • Aquatic vertebrate characterization (species richness) • Repeatable measurements • Can be used to assist in classification of wetlands and provide reference pre-disturbance, however, method may only provide relative comparison (site to site) for application in reference conditions

  14. The Hydrogeomorphic Method for Wetland Assessment • Used to provide a tool for measuring changes in the functions of wetland ecosystems due to impacts by proposed projects, and restoration, creation, and/or enhancement • Placed emphasis on geomorphic and hydrologic attributes, rather than biotic characteristics- abundance of water, inputs and outputs of water • Description and ordinal scale • Concentration: • Geomorphic setting – topographic location within surrounding landscape • Water source and its transport – precipitation, surface/near surface flow, and groundwater discharge • Hydrodynamics – direction and strength of flow http://www.wli.nrcs.usda.gov/assessment/

  15. Preparation and planning for restoration Planning a restoration of a riparian corridor requires information1 1. Evaluate composition and structure of riparian communities existing within the corridor using quantitative descriptions (inventories) 2. Descriptions of environmental conditions affecting community composition and structure that is a departure from natural conditions 3. Identify spatial associations between environmental conditions and communities to be restored 4. Choose reference states (restoration targets) for community composition and structure for each environmental condition and each community to be restored 1http://old.aswm.org/fwp/assessment/index.htm

  16. The Last Dam Summer1 Elwha River Restoration- an example of river corridor and wetland restoration preparation 1http://localenv210.blogspot.com/2010/11/elwha-river-dam-removal.html

  17. History: • 1910-1927 the Elwha & Glines Canyon Dams were built on the Elwha River to provide hydroelectric power to a mill in Port Angeles, WA, north-central Olympic Peninsula • Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992 created funding and government support for mitigation of the dams on the Elwha1 Olympic Peninsula2 Washington State3 1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwha_Dam#Effects_of_Dam_on_River_Habitat 2http://vrtrekker.com/olympic_national_park/ruby_beach/gx/mapLG.jpg 3http://minnehahahomeforsale.com/blog/washington-state-business-from-the-rainy-city/

  18. http://www.americanrivers.org/assets/pdfs/dam-removal-docs/Elwha_Mapccd3.pdfhttp://www.americanrivers.org/assets/pdfs/dam-removal-docs/Elwha_Mapccd3.pdf

  19. Glines Canyon Dam • Issues1: • Glines Dam -leak under the dam structure • Little power output from either dam • Interrupted wildlife corridors and aquatic species movement (dams, water temps, lack of habitat) • Has negatively affected local Elwha Klallam Tribe • Dams cut off the salmon runs to the largest watershed on the Olympic Peninsula • Major runs for Coho, pink, chum, sockeye and Chinook salmon • Greatly reduced sediment/organic matter flow down stream2 Delta to Lake Mills 1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwha_Dam#Effects_of_Dam_on_River_Habitt 2http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fed/wpg/elwha.cfm

  20. Pre-dam removal activities Depiction of the Lake Mills area before and after the removal of Glines Canyon Dam and draining of the reservoir1 • Hydrogeological and Geomorphologic Assessment • River corridor and riparian area mapping (GIS, field assessment & proofing) • Estimate changes in hydrogeology and river flow (env engineers) • Lake Mills drawdown experiment (Childers and others, 2000) - learn about the erodibility of reservoir sediments1 1http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/sediment/projects/ElwhaRiver/ElwhaGlinesCanyon.htm

  21. Pre-dam removal activities Predicting Floodplain Vegetation Response to Dam Removal on the Elwha River1 • Vegetation surveys park-wide used to evaluate native composition • Used to decide which species should be used for seeding and outplanting post-lake draw down1 • Nursery establishing for increasing seed and establishing plants for outplanting • Geomorphic and vegetative characteristics of channel and flood plain2 1http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/helfiej/elwha_web/elwha_sppinvasion.htm 2http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fed/wpg/elwha.cfm

  22. Pre-dam removal activities Black bear Ursusamericanus Wildlife inventories (Park-wide, Elwha and Quinault River Corridors) • Wildlife (three year baseline-establishment of conditions of different wildlife populations on Elwha) • Wildlife inventory and isotope analysis for marine-driven nutrients • Surveys –birds, fish (native & non-native), amphibians (frogs & salamanders), small-mammals, river otters, mid-sized carnivores (skunks, raccoons, weasels), large herbivores (Elk & deer populations), bears Deer Mouse Peromyscusmaniculatus Olympic torrent salamander Rhyacotritonolympicus Northwestern salamander Ambystomagracile Pacific tree frog, Pseudacrisregilla Pacific tree frog, Pseudacrisregilla

  23. Those involved EPA, DOI- NPS, USGS, BOR, USFWS, Washington State, NOAA, Elwha Klallam Tribe, local advocacy groups, recreational groups, Western Washington University, Oregon State University, City of Port Angeles and local businesses

  24. Additional Resources Adamus, P.R., Clairain, E.J., Jr., Smith, R.D., and Young, R.E., 1987, Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET), v. 2 of Methodology: Vicksburg, Miss., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Operational Draft Technical Report, 206 p. + appendixes. Adamus, P.R., and Stockwell, L.T., 1983, Critical review and evaluation concepts, v. 1 of Method for wetland functional assessment: Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Report no. FHWA-IP-82-23, 176 p. • Childers, D.; Kresch, D.L.; Gustafson, A.S.; Randle, T.J.; Melena, J.T.; Cluer, B., September 2000, Hydrologic Data Collected During the 1994 Lake Mills Drawdown Experiment, Elwha River, Washington, Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4215, U.S. Geological Survey, Tacoma, Washington, 115 pages. • http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/principles.html#10 • http://www.elwhainfo.org/people-and-communities/lower-elwha-klallam-tribe/tribal-history-and-periods/elwha-river-restoration • http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/water/2294301 • http://restoration.doi.gov/ • http://old.aswm.org/fwp/assessment/index.htm • USEPA, 2000. Principles for the Ecological Restoration of Aquatic Resources. EPA841- F-00-003. Office of Water (4501F), United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 4 pp. <http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/restore/principles.html>.

  25. Habitat Restoration as a Means to Controlling Non-Native Fish Species ENV 794 Jennifer Johnson http://www.thejump.net/id/pics/sailfin-molly.jpg

  26. Content • Introduction • Non-native vs Native Fish Species • Traditional Removal Techniques • Rotenone • Physical Removal • Ash Meadows and Kings Pool Springs • Lower Putah Creek • Conclusions

  27. Introduction • Non-native species often cause rapid population declines and extinction of native species • Many non-native species are successful because they are released from natural controls (e.g., competitors, predators, parasites) that regulate population growth within their native range • Our ability to minimize the effects on native species relies on our ability to understand underlying mechanisms. • Non-native species tend to be superior competitors, high reproductive rates and predation strategies absent during native fish evolution

  28. Non-Native vs Native Fish Species • Non-natives have been shown to cause native fish decline • Once established, control or elimination is problematic • Non-native fish colonization greatest in anthropogenically altered habitats • Restoring habitat to predisturbance conditions may offer a viable means of non-native fish control.

  29. Non-Native vs Native Fish Species • Physical changes in aquatic ecosystems can change fish community structure, population demographics, and relative abundance of species. • Native fish have a great chance of resisting non-native invasion in an undisturbed habitat because they have evolved in this ecosystem and has contributed to their survival.

  30. Traditional Removal Techniques • Chemical treatment • Physical Removal http://www.outdooralabama.com/images/Image/RotenoneBackp.jpg

  31. Rotenone • Most common piscicide used to kill fish. • Interferes with the cellular use of oxygen • Affects all gill-breathing animals (fish/amphibians/insects). • At normal application rates, does not affect mammals, birds or reptiles.

  32. Physical Removal • Gill nets • Fish swim forward through openings in net, can’t move forward and gills tangle when trying to move backward. • Able to be designed to reduce by-catch of non-target species • Might be a viable alternative to rotenone in Sierra Nevada (for 15-20% of lakes). • Suggested method of choice when sensitive native species are present. • Time and cost intensive.

  33. http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/F3E8B903-7592-4129-B282-D9024A58C305/0/Gill_net_flip.jpghttp://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/F3E8B903-7592-4129-B282-D9024A58C305/0/Gill_net_flip.jpg

  34. Different technique • Need innovate technique to address the problem • Rotenone-kill all fish in the lake. Physical removal may not work depending on size of fish (some fish are only a few inches long). • What other option? • Restoration of impacted ecosystems • Native fish have evolutionary edge in ecosystems • May be able to use restoration so environmental conditions favor natives over non-natives

  35. Goals of wetland/riparian restoration or recovery efforts: • Return to ecosystem conditions that resemble those before human alteration had taken place. • Issues: predisturbance conditions not well documented • Recovery of ecosystem function and structure does not guarantee the same species and community will be present in the post-restoration wetland/riparian area.

  36. Reference Conditions • Pre-disturbance records (not well documented in many cases). • Similar ecosystem in close physical proximity to site in question

  37. Restoration – Ash Meadows & Kings Pool Spring • Ash Meadows has springs which favor natives over non-natives • Kings Pool Spring (warm water spring). Prior to restoration, non-native species dominate. • Springs within Ash Meadows used as a reference condition for nearby Kings Pool Spring (major warm water spring system.) http://ndep.nv.gov/admin/ash.jpg

  38. Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge • Mojave Desert Oasis-largest number of endemic species for its area in North America • Primary water sources: 24 thermal springs within a 7-km radius • Highly mineralized water and dissolved oxygen well below saturation. • 655-700 m above mean sea level • Massive landscape alterations • Mined for peat, surrounding areas cleared for agricultural use

  39. Ash Meadows • Several springheads fitted with pumps, eliminating surface flow • Water diverted • Loss of natural channel and native riparian corridors • Non-native vegetation established along new or altered stream courses • Mosquitofish established in 1930’s • Sailfin molly established in 1960’s. • Ash Meadows native fish are all federally listed as endangered, and recovery predicated on habitat restoration and removal of non-native species.

  40. Native Fish • Amargosa pupfish • Ash Meadows speckled dace • Ash Meadows poolfish (extinct) • Warm Springs pupfish, Devils hole pupfish (higher elevation, physiographically isolated) • Warm water and spring pool habitat • Able to inhabit significantly faster mean water column velocities and greater total depth in both warm and cool water habitats compared to non-natives. http://www.fdnwrc.blogspot.com

  41. Non-native Fish • Sailfin molly • Mosquitofish • Cool water-lentic ecosystems http://www.sjmosquito.org/assets/images/pic-mosquitofish-f.jpg http://www.thejump.net/id/pics/sailfin-molly.jpg

  42. Ash Meadows • Ash Meadows has few non-native species, making it easier to determine which ecosystems favor natives over non-native species.

  43. Kings Pool Spring • Modification of outflow from marsh to warm water stream. • In 1997 Kings Pool Spring Marsh was drained and water routed through an excavated channel configured to simulate the historic outflow stream. • Mean water column velocities, total depth, and temperature altered to favor native fish

  44. Kings Pool Spring • Changed fish composition from non-native Sailfin molly and Mosquitofish to predominantly Ash Meadows pupfish. • Restoring spring systems to a semblance of pre-disturbance conditions may encourage recolonization of native fish species and discourage non-native invasion and proliferation • May be able to apply over all of the Ash Meadows spring systems.

  45. Restoration and Altered Flow Regimes • Many streams have highly altered flow regimes • Changes in: channel structure, sediment transporation, and thermal regime • Recommend flow regimes that favor natural fish assemblages • Recommend “natural” flow regimes • How to develop a natural flow regime when much of the annual flow is diverted?

  46. Lower Putah Creek Regulated stream in Central California. http://putahcreek.ucdavis.edu/images/pcrr005.jpg

  47. Lower Putah Creek • Distinct differences between assemblages of native and non-native fish • Natives: cluster in areas with colder water, less pool habitat, faster stream flow, and more shaded areas. • Non-natives: Less stream flow • Direct relationship to drastically altered stream ecosystem from Lake Berryessa and Monticello Dam due to significant reduction in water. • Restoration of natural flow regimes along with other restoration would be suggested to stop decline of native fish species in the area.

  48. Conclusion • Non-natives can outcompete natives in their natural ecosystems • Once established, non-natives are hard to eradicate from an ecosystem. • Our current eradication methods have inherent flaws. • Restoration as an eradication method may be a possibility. • Still contains inherent issues but certainly a technique to consider • Try to create pre-disturbance conditions which favor natives over non-natives

  49. References • Baltz, Donald M. Moyle, Peter B. 1993. Invasion Resistance to Introduced Species by a Native Assemblage of California Stream Fishes. Ecological Applications 3(2) pp. 246-255. • Marchetti, Michael P. Moyle, Peter B. 2001. Effects of Flow Regime on Fish Assemblages in a Regulated California Stream. Ecological Applications 11(2), pp. 530-539. • Mills, Michael D. Rader, Russell B. Belk, Mark. C. 2004. Complex interactions between native and invasive fish: the simultaneous effects of multiple negative interactions. Community Ecology. • Scoppettone, G. Gary. Rissler, Peter H. Gourley, Chad. Martinez, Cynthia. 2005. Habitat Restoration as a Means of Controlling Non-Native Fish in a Mojave Desert Oasis. Restoration Ecology Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 247–256.

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