Riparian Vegetation Functions Roots stabilize banks / reduce erosion Provide structure or cover for fish Taller vegetation provides shade Organic food source for aquatic organisms Leaves Terrestrial insects
Riparian Vegetation Functions Pollutant filtering Fall into stream – large woody debris Shapes channel Substrate for biological activity
Relationship to Water Quality Turbidity / Sediment Phosphorus Temperature (Shade) Nutrient Uptake Nutrient Release (Alder)
Two Ways to Assess a Riparian Zone Plant Presence Habitat Quality Actual Diversity Invasive Species Changes over time Riparian Assessment Stability Shade Invasive Species Large Wood Recruitment Considers non- vegetative stable substrates
Riparian Assessment Can be broken into 3 sections: a 100’ riparian transect perpendicular to the stream, a 100’ “greenline” transect along the stream, a riparian tree count performed in a 100 sq ft area along the stream
Greenline Transect 100ft X 5 ft FLOW Pool Gravel bar Riffle Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Riparian Transect 100ft X 10ft Starting point
Riparian Assessment Total area = 100 ft x 100 ft (30 m 2 ) Instructions in feet and meters Starting point is at beginning of first (downstream) habitat unit
Riparian Transect FLOW Pool Gravel bar Riffle Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Each zone is 10 meters (33 feet) long Total transect length = 30 meters (100 feet)
Riparian Transect STREAM Length 11 feet Width 10 feet Estimate % cover by 10-20 % increments May have more or less than 100 feet of “riparian zone”
Diameter Circumference Diameter = Circumference (approx. 3.14) Tree Size Class
What Does it Tell Us? Riparian and Greenline Transects Extent and diversity of riparian zone Stability Invasive species Riparian Tree Count Age-class diversity Large woody debris recruitment (old growth conifer, >35”, is MOST desirable)
Evaluation of recruitment How many trees of varying size are present in the riparian zone? How close/far are they from the water? Over what time period might they become available?
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