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Riparian ecosystems of the Salmon-Challis National Forest: An assessment of current conditions in relation to the natural range of variability

Posted date: July 16, 2019
Publication Year: 
2019
Publication Series: 
General Technical Report (GTR)
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-394. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 190 p.

Abstract

This assessment was conducted to provide information on the current conditions of riparian, wetland, and groundwater-dependent ecosystems in reference to their natural range of variation on the Salmon-Challis National Forest during forest plan revision. We used peer-reviewed literature, data from the Forest and other partners, and site visits to evaluate the status of eight key ecosystem characteristics: (1) distribution and connectivity of riparian ecosystems, (2) distribution of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, (3) surface water and groundwater fluctuations, (4) water quality, (5) channel and floodplain dynamics, (6) condition of spring runout channel, (7) composition and condition of riparian ecosystems, and (8) composition and condition of groundwater-dependent ecosystems. We determined that riparian, wetland, and groundwater-dependent ecosystems of the National Forest have experienced stressors that have influenced their current conditions, including livestock and wild ungulate grazing, altered streamflow and fire regimes, road construction, timber harvest, invasive and encroaching species, vegetation mortality due to insects and disease, and altered temperature and precipitation regimes. Some units of the Forest, particularly the North Fork Ranger District and sections of the Salmon-Cobalt and Middle Fork Ranger Districts, appear to be more resistant and resilient to stressors. Our results have been incorporated in ecosystem assessments completed during the forest plan revision process and will be useful to resource managers and planners during efforts to restore and/or maintain riparian, wetland, and groundwater-dependent ecosystems on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

Citation

Driscoll, Katelyn P.; Smith, D. Max; Warren, Steven D.; Finch, Deborah M. 2019. Riparian ecosystems of the Salmon-Challis National Forest: An assessment of current conditions in relation to the natural range of variability. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-394. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 190 p.