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Geomorphic response of a montane riparian habitat to interactions of ungulates, vegetation, and hydrology

Posted date: August 03, 2010
Publication Year: 
1996
Authors: Neary, Daniel G.; Medina, Alvin L.
Publication Series: 
General Technical Report (GTR)
Source: In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 143-147.
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

Wildcat Creek, a tributary of the Black River on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is being studied to determine the impacts of cattle and elk grazing on riparian wet meadows. An intensive survey of a selected stream reach revealed a unique channel development involving an aggradation/degradation process in a pool-riffle sequence of an E-6 stream channel. Grazing and trampling impacts of elk and cattle were found to affect the process in two ways: 1) overgrazing of stream banks resulted in exposure of the soil fabric and loss during high flows, sloughing of banks, channel widening, and a reduction in the ability of plants to trap sediments; and 2) trampling at animal crossings initiated a degradation of riffles by breaking down the armoring gravels which are held in place by native aquatic plants of the genera Carex, Cyperus, Juncus, Glyceria, Scirpus etc. The importance of the aggradation/degradation process is in the long-term maintenance of montane cienegas in a quasi-stable condition with fully functional processes.

Citation

Neary, Daniel G.; Medina, Alvin L. 1996. Geomorphic response of a montane riparian habitat to interactions of ungulates, vegetation, and hydrology. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Finch, Deborah M., tech coords. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing interests and concerns together. 1995 Sept. 18-22, 1995; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-272. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 143-147.