Title: Monitoring Riparian Restoration: A Management Perspective
Author: Najmi, Yasmeen; Grogan, Sterling;
Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 177-180
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Description: As the largest landholder of cottonwood-dominated riparian forest or “bosque” in the 150 miles of the middle Rio Grande from the Cochiti Dam to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD; a political subdivision of the State of New Mexico) and its cooperators are implementing “fuels reduction” projects throughout the bosque. Fuels reduction is defined as the removal of exotic phreatophytes such as Tamarisk (Tamarix ramosissima) and Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), treatment of the exotic stumps or stems with herbicide, and removing most dead and down wood to reduce fire hazard. Primary objectives for fuels reduction projects include: Fire management; habitat diversity; water salvage, and recreation access. While projects were initially small-scale, recently increased funding, and the availability of mechanical equipment such as mulcher-grinders and tree extractors, has enabled managers to implement projects more rapidly and on a larger scale. Concern for the effects of fuels reduction activities on wildlife, particularly the southwestern willow flycatcher (a Federally endangered species), and the growing influence of fire as the primary disturbance force in the bosque, has led to the establishment of two research projects by the MRGCD and the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. These studies are examining the effects of different fuels reduction treatments and wildfire on vegetation, water resources, wildlife, and fuel loads in the middle Rio Grande bosque. They and other studies are part of an overall focus on bosque restoration that involves monitoring and research emphasizing ecosystemlevel processes. The University of New Mexico’s Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program (BEMP), utilizing K-12 students between San Juan Pueblo and Lemitar, New Mexico, monitors monthly changes in litterfall biomass, precipitation and groundwater depth at 19 similarly organized sites. BEMP is now supported to begin monitoring large-scale restoration work in the Albuquerque reach of the Rio Grande. In addition, universities and government agencies are monitoring evapotranspiration from bosque vegetation as well as groundwater levels and movement in order to learn how restoration activities affect water supply. Scientifically sound monitoring and research programs have the potential to strongly influence how we look at the bosque and approach restoration, now and in the future. The question for bosque managers like the MRGCD is how monitoring fits into a management scheme—that is, whether, when and how information from different monitoring programs can be integrated efficiently into restoration plans and implementation strategies, including best management practices.
Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, cottonwood-dominated riparian forest, bosque, Tamarisk, Tamarix ramosissima, Russian olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia
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Najmi, Yasmeen; Grogan, Sterling 2006. Monitoring Riparian Restoration: A Management Perspective. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 177-180
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