Posters 2015

Prioritizing Watershed Restoration Using Effective Techniques:
An Introduction to the Erosion Analysis and Restoration Toolset (EARTh)

Steve Vrooman
Keystone Restoration Ecology
Santa Fe, NM

Keystone Restoration Ecology is on the forefront of applying remote sensory technology to efficiently and effectively address climate change impacts and improve ecosystem resilience to natural disasters through watershed restoration techniques. Natural Channel Design (NCD) requires on-the-ground assessments and thus locating the most effective locations for erosion control and restoration treatments has long been a limiting factor in watershed restoration at the landscape level. The advent of remote sensing technology and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has profound implications for the restoration of our watersheds.

Keystone Restoration Ecology Inc., a design-build company, has been in the field of watershed restoration for the past 15 years and has applied its GIS and NCD experience to develop the Erosion Analysis Restoration Techniques GIS toolset or EARThTM. This toolset provides a comprehensive analysis of conditions on the ground and prioritizes restoration areas. Currently, assessments and prioritizing is done at great expense and on foot. The toolset can focus design time by locating 1) the most damaging erosion and prioritizing NCD treatments and 2) identifying Priority 1 (Plug and Pond) restoration sites one of the most effective restoration treatments. Running this analysis on a landscape allows efforts to concentrate on locations with either severe erosion or high restoration potential, or both. Restoration of smaller channels or wetlands can be performed by hand or with small machinery, be at little risk of failure, and lead to landscape-wide improvements in watershed function and drought protection. After a wildfire, for example, the EARThâ„¢ toolset can design and prioritize treatments that mitigate flooding and capture sediment runoff to re-build wetlands and restore our watersheds, which changes a damaging flood into a benefit for the landscape. KRE will present an overview of the toolset and share lessons learned from projects throughout the Southwest.