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    Author(s): Jeanne C. Chambers; Jerry R. Miller; Dru Germanosk
    Date: 2011
    Source: In: Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Jerry R., eds. Geomorphology, hydrology, and ecology of Great Basin meadow complexes - implications for management and restoration. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-10.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (1.42 MB)

    Description

    Streams and riparian ecosystems are a particularly valuable resource in the arid to semi-arid Great Basin, supplying water for agriculture and domestic uses, forage for livestock, and habitat for diverse aquatic and terrestrial organisms. In upland watersheds of the central Great Basin, many of the streams and riparian ecosystems have been severely degraded (Chambers and Miller 2004b; Chambers and others 2004a). A primary cause of this degradation is ongoing stream incision (downcutting) that occurs during episodic high flow events (Miller and others 2001, 2004). Meadow complexes (areas with shallow water tables that are dominated largely by grasses and carices) are at especially high risk of degradation because they often occur in hydrologic and geomorphic settings that are susceptible to stream incision (Chambers and others 2004a, 2004b; Germanoski and Miller 2004; Jewett and others 2004). In many cases, streams have been isolated from their original floodplains, and there have been significant changes in channel pattern and form. As the channels have incised, the base level for groundwater discharge has been lowered, resulting in deeper water tables. Because riparian vegetation depends on groundwater availability, there have been changes in the structure and composition of meadow ecosystems (Wright and Chambers 2002; Chambers and others 2004a, 2004b). The net effect has been a decrease in the aerial extent of the riparian corridor and a loss of meadow ecosystems.

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    Citation

    Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Jerry R.; Germanosk, Dru. 2011. Introduction and overview [chapter 1]. In: Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Jerry R., eds. Geomorphology, hydrology, and ecology of Great Basin meadow complexes - implications for management and restoration. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 1-10.

    Keywords

    riparian areas, wetlands, semi-arid ecosystems, degradation, stream incision, stabilization

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