Abstract: Session B 8:30 am (Back to Session B)
Designing Seed Mixes and Plant Palettes to Enhance - Ecological Uplift for Stream Restoration Projects
AloTerra Restoration Services, LLC
Fort Collins, CO
The health of riparian communities along the stream bank, overbank, and other geomorphic positions in a floodplain is essential to the integrity of a floodplain, including bank stability, surface roughness, and adequate resilience in the face of annual scour events and larger flood events. Further, healthy riparian areas are essential to as much as 80% of the terrestrial wildlife in the arid west, improve stream shading, provide organic inputs necessary to the macroinvertebrate food chain, and improve water quality. A significant proportion of our stream corridors in the Western US exhibit highly degraded riparian conditions (e.g., low biological diversity, reduced structural diversity, dominance of weed species, etc.), offering potential for significant ecological uplift during a stream restoration project. To be effective, revegetation needs to be designed and planned at the same time that all other stream restoration design and planning is being conducted. This talk provides fundamental approaches to designing seed mixes, plant palettes, and pole/cutting treatments to obtain the greatest ecological value in a given stream restoration project. In addition to presenting an approach to utilizing hydroseres to improve the location of plants across a floodplain, this presentation will outline strategies for designing seed mixes, plant palettes, and cutting/pole strategies to obtain the most efficient (and effective) outcome for each hydrosere (i.e., hydrologic zone) that exists across a floodplain. Building on the information presented on locating the right plants in the right places, we will turn our focus to the right timing. Depending on the type of propagule in question (seed, cutting, container), the frost-free periods of the site in question, the limitations of high flow periods and construction schedules, and other factors, an idealized revegetation schedule will be provided that provides the best chances of successful plant establishment.