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Geomorphic sensitivity and ecological resilience of Great Basin streams and riparian ecosystems

Author(s):

Jerry R. Miller
Mark L. Lord
Anna C. Knight

Year:

2021

Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Source:

Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-426. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 159 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/RMRS-GTR-426.

Description

This report provides a multiscale approach for assessing the geomorphic sensitivity of streams and ecological resilience of riparian ecosystems, including meadows, in upland watersheds of the Great Basin to disturbances and management actions. Part I describes the key concepts needed to understand geomorphic sensitivity, ecological resilience, and ecological integrity. The watershed characteristics and components that influence sensitivity and resilience to disturbance are discussed, including the geomorphic characteristics of the stream channels and vegetation characteristics of the riparian ecosystems. A categorization of watershed sensitivity and resilience is provided to evaluate the past and likely future responses of the watersheds to disturbances and determine appropriate management strategies. Part II contains the information and protocols needed to categorize stream reaches and watersheds according to their relative sensitivity and resilience and evaluate their ecological integrity. The assessment involves collecting data on (1) watershed characteristics, (2) stream channel geomorphic and hydrologic characteristics, (3) riparian and meadow ecosystem vegetation characteristics, and (4) disturbance types and magnitudes. The assessments of watershed sensitivity and resilience are intended to provide the basis for prioritizing areas for conservation and restoration activities and determining the most effective strategies. The target audience is managers and stakeholders interested in assessing and adaptively managing Great Basin stream systems and riparian and meadow ecosystems.

Citation

Chambers, Jeanne C.; Miller, Jerry R.; Lord, Mark L.; Board, David I.; Knight, Anna C. 2021. Geomorphic sensitivity and ecological resilience of Great Basin streams and riparian ecosystems. Part I. Sensitivity and resilience concepts, components, and categories. Part II. Assessment protocol. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-426. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 159 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/RMRS-GTR-426.

Cited

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/63511