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Riparian Assessment

Herons Hideout
FISH 430
Timothy Barth

Figure 1. Aerial of Herons Hideout.

Introduction: (Background/Problem Statement/Site description)


The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) performed an urban
restoration project at Herons Hideout and was completed in 2002. Paradise Creek is part
of the Palouse Basin and is located on the southeastern side of Moscow, Idaho. In order
to assess current physical and biological processes, a brief evaluation of historical
restoration efforts and modifications needs to be established (PCEI, 2002).
Paradise Creek is situated in an urban/agricultural setting that has been highly
modified through channelization, related to agriculture and urban development. The
original project required channel reconstruction, erosion control, wetland creation,
channel fill and re-vegetation. These modifications were completed to, minimize erosion,
increase sinuosity, reintroduce native vegetation, and increase habitat quality for local
biota (PCEI, 2002).
Riparian restoration is important because it has the ability, depending on goals
and objectives to improve the overall watershed. Riparian areas, especially in the Palouse
region, act as catch basins for pesticide runoff and buffer zones for erosion control. The
restoration of Herons Hideout provides ecosystem services such as storm water retention
and improved habitat. An assessment of vegetation in the restoration area will help us to
gather qualitative data regarding the health of the restored site and determine the relative
success of the restoration.

Our site contained a floodplain clearly delineated from the stream and
vegetation area, with little to no bare ground. The site also contained an intact
beaver dam with evidence of current activity and two wetlands along our stretch.
The flow regime was at bankful, due to a heavy precipitation event both at the time
of data collection and the night/day before.


Ecological Indicators/Field methods:

Our indicators consisted of a general survey of vegetation species occurring


within Herons Hideout followed by more specific indicators taken from four
randomly selected plots. These plots were then compiled along with the general
species survey taking into account vegetation abundance and diversity to fill out the
PFC assessment guide. Our general survey took into consideration soil moisture
characteristics, the vegetations ability to withstand high flow events, plant vigor and
the availability of large woody debris (LWD). The four plots shown in figures 4-7
were given percentage values regarding species abundance, the amount of bare
ground, detritus material, and total vegetation. The Hydrology group utilized cross-
sectional width, bankful depth and stream velocity for Rosgens Classification. The
Rosgen Classification System and all of the measurements taken were used to
indicate hydraulic and sediment relationships, and provide a consistent frame of
reference for communicating stream morphology and conditions(Harmen and
Jennings). The slope was not taken due to weather conditions and time constraints.
The mapping team took GIS locations along the stream banks to illustrate stream
sinuosity. They also took down the locations of mature willows on the site that
contribute to large woody debris and the location of our plot sites. A map was used

to showcase the sinuosity of the stream and health of the surrounding floodplains.
These are indicators of the riparian areas ability to adapt to peak flows and other
disturbances. Specific indicators we evaluated were recruitment of riparian vegetation
populations, diversity in age-class distribution of species and diversity in species
composition.

Field Methods:

To determine if the site is in Proper Functioning Condition we will use the riparian area
management plan from the Bureau of Land Management as an assessment guide (Figure
3). The site was classified using the Rosgen Classification System. Stream characteristics
were assessed and then compared against an ideal stream of a similar Rosgen
classification. To better illustrate the sinuosity of the stream as well as locating PFC
vegetation plot analysis a map (Figure 2) was created using GPS and ArcGIS.

Analysis methods:



Our analysis of each data set will differ in regards to reaching group goals
and objectives. As for our vegetation group, we pooled our data together in regards
to our broad survey of species on the study site and our vegetation plots in order to
complete the PFC assessment tool. Weather conditions were a good indicator of the
vegetations ability to withstand disturbance due to the fact that peak flows were
taking place on the site as we gathered our data. This matched with species
diversity, which can be found on a list in the appendix, helped solidify our findings.
The Hydrology group similarly compiled data and made calculations determining
the streams placement on the Rosgen Classification Chart. The AMR group provided
both the Hydrology and Vegetation group a visual, highlighting where data was
taken and illustrated the proper placement of the stream on the Rosgen
Classification Chart. Our analysis method is in short a three-fold approach in
assessing the streams current ability to withstand disturbance and effectiveness in
slowing down flows from surrounding urban and agricultural stressors.

Results

Our group found that the site is in Proper Functioning Condition in all categories
excluding the 12th section of the PFC checklist, pertaining toplant communities are an
adequate source of coarse and/or large woody material (for maintenance/recovery)
(Harman & Jennings). Shown in figure 3. The map in figure 1 illustrates only five
large/mature willows in our site area. The rest of the vegetation was comprised of shrubs
and sage/grassy vegetation leading up to the aquatic zone. Figures 4 through 7 consist of
the four plots that we used to randomly assess different areas of the riparian area in large
detail. The tables (A through D) featured next to the pictures contain the percentage of
cover within the plots and list the species present along with detritus, bare ground and
total vegetation. For the exception of one unknown species in plot four, 100% of the
species within our plots consisted of native vegetation. Herons Hideout is classified as
an E6b stream according to Rosgens Classification System (Harman & Jennings).

Hydrology data sets and the map back up this claim and are found on the title page and in
the appendix. An ideal E6b stream on the Rosgen Chart is slightly entrenched with a
width/depth ratio (<12). The sinuosity of the stream is very high and greater than 1.5 with
channel material consisting of silt/clay and a slope range in between .02 and .039
(Harman & Jennings).

Discussion
Herons Hideout is in a Proper Functioning Condition given past altercations,
reengineering of the channel, and reintroduction of native vegetation. The map shown in
figure 2 does not properly show the abundance of younger willows and dogwoods in the
area. Figure 1 illustrates this point. It also does not show the beaver dam located on the
site that is transforming ecological processes inside and outside of the stream through the
use of LWD. The hydrology data was incomplete and does not include slope, channel
length, and valley length. The lack of slope and channel length is not problematic because
of the indicatory Rosgen indicator method being used. The slope is however problematic
with the classification system. Due to the observable low grade of the area we
categorized the stream in the lowest slope range. An ideal system would include an exact
slope. The vegetation we were able to classify and observe during our assessment
consisted of 16 total with only 4 identified as nonnative species. Matched with our plot
data, the abundance of native shrubs, grasses, sedges and shrubs on the site act as further
indicators of riparian health. Our objective was met.

Summary & Recommendation


The observations made from our plot species identification process along with the
PFC checklist and species inventory found in figure 3 through 8 in the appendix contains
all of the plant species, hydrology data, and visuals taken from the site. These data sets
and observations, along with AMR data are our best indicators of the health of the site.
Our assessment of the hydrology of the stream would be better if compared with
historical data sets, rather than the Rosgen Classification System. We recommend that the
completion of Hydrology data be undertaken when discharge does not hinder
measurements. We also recommend that further monitoring of vegetation and hydrology
be taken every 3-6 years to look for changes wrought by the beaver dam effecting the
sinuosity and channelization of the stream as well as a possible increase of invasive
species prevalent in the area. Future assessments should also include detailed accounts of
mature willows in the area via diameter at breast height measurements and an inventory
of delinquent willows in order to compare with future assessments.

Figure 2. AMR Field Data

Figure 3. Picture of PFC assessment checklist.

Figure 4: Picture of PFC assessment tool at plot 1.

Table A) Plot 1-
Herons Hideout
Bare ground cover

Percent cover within


plot
0

Detritus

38.9

Total vegetation

61.1

Phalaris
arundinaceae Native
Carex lanuginosa
Native
Vicia americana
Native

60
1
0.1

Table B) Plot 2- Herons


Hideout
Bare ground cover

Percent cover within


plot
0.5

Detritus

Total vegetation

95.5

Phalaris arundinaceae
Native
Biotic crust (moss)

90

Vicia americana Native

Solidago sp. Native

0.5

Figure 5: Picture of PFC assesment tool at plot 2.

Table C) Plot 3-Herons


Hideout
Bare Ground Cover
Detritus
Total Vegetation
Phalaris arundinaceae Native

Percent Cover
within plot
30
20
50
25

Figure 6: Picutre of PFC assesment tool at plot 3.

Figure 7: Picture of PFC assessment tool at plot 4.

Table D) Plot 4- Herons


Hideout
Bare ground cover

Percent cover
within plot
30

Detritus

10

Total vegetation

60

Phalaris arundinaceae
Native
Unknown sp.

30

Cornus stolonifera Native

25

Appendix A: Identified Species within riparian area:


Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) Native
Service Berry (Amelanchier Medik.) Native
Black Hawhorne (Crataegus douglasii Lindl. Native
Rose Spirea (Spiraea douglassii) Native
Dogwood (Cornus L.) Native
Baltic Rush (Juncus arcticus) Native
Reed Canary (Phalaris arundinacea L.) Native
Carex Wooly Sedge (Carex pellita) Native
Teasel (Dipsacus L.) Nonnative
Prickly Lettuce (Lactura serriola) Nonnative
American Vetch (Vicia americana) Native
Sitka Alder (Alnus viridis) Native
Common Duckweed (Lemna minor L.) Native
Native Cat Tails (Carex typhina Michx.) Nonnative
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Nonnative
Woolly Sedge (Carex pellita) Native

Appendix B: Hydrology Field Data


Cross Section
Width
Depth 1
Depth 2
Depth 3
Depth 4
Depth 5
Area (m2)

Top
5.3
0.14
0.4
0.62
0.29
0.2

Middle
5.1
0.6
0.8
0.8
0.4
0.1

Bottom
5
0.2
0.6
0.9
0.75
0.2

1.06

2.3

2.13


Bankfull
Width
Depth 1
Depth 2
Depth 3
Depth 4
Depth 5
Average Depth (m)
Average Width (m)

Top

Bottom
5.6
0.4
0.75
1.1
0.96
0.3
1.518

6.8
0.2
0.3
0.55
0.96
0.45
1.543
6.2


Velocity
Length
Time
Velocity (m/s)

2
7
40.44
0.173

3
7
30.63
0.229

12
7
35.05
0.200

23
7
38.67
0.181

34
7
31.35
0.223

7
35.4
0.198


Column1
Rosgen
Floodprone Width
Channel Length
Valley Length
Grain Size
Entrenchment
W/D Ratio

Literature Cited:

Column2

Column3


51.3
Missing
Missing
Silt/Clay
7.544
0.822


Harman, A., William & Jennings, D., Gregory. Application of the Rosgen Stream
Classification System to North Carolina. North Carolina Cooper Extension Service.
<http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/srp/rv-crs2.pdf>.

Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI). (2002). Herons Hideout
Remeander, Floodplain, Wetland and Riparian Planting. <http://www.pcei.
modwest.com/water/project.htm?pid=7>.