Our study examined the effects of flow regulation on the spatiotemporal availability of shallow habitat patches with slow current velocity (SSCV patches) and floodplain inundation in the unregulated Yellowstone River and the regulated Missouri River in Montana and North Dakota. We mapped representative sites and used hydraulic models and hydrograph data to describe the frequency and extent of floodplain inundation and the availability of SSCV habitat over time during different water years. In the Yellowstone River the distribution, location, and size of SSCV patches varied but followed an annual pattern that was tied to the snowmelt runoff hydrograph...
Characterizing flow regimes for floodplain forest conservation: an assessment of factors affecting sapling growth and survivorship on three cold desert rivers
We tested the hypothesis that decomposition in flood-inundated patches of riparian tree leaf litter results in higher plant-available nitrogen in underlying, nutrient-poor alluvium. We used leafpacks (n = 56) containing cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. wislizenii) leaf litter to mimic natural accumulations of leaves in an experiment conducted on the Yampa River floodplain in semi arid northwestern Colorado, USA. One-half of the leafpacks were set on the sandy alluvial surface, and one-half were buried 5 cm below the surface...
Plant water status relationships among major floodplain sites of the Flathead River, Montana
Biological Invasions of Riparian Ecosystems: Technical Support for Riparian Conservation Planning on the Colorado and Green Rivers in Utah
Colorado River after a high flow experiment
The Green River valley in Wyoming
A branch of the Colorado River with scientists working near it
The Green River with a storm approaching
The National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are conducting coordinated conservation actions along the Green and Colorado River corridors in Utah to enhance resource conditions and related societal values associated with these iconic riverine ecosystems. Since the late 19th century, riverine ecosystems throughout much of western North America have been altered through the introduction of nonnative plant and fish species, water withdrawals, flow regulation by dams, and many other human activities. Riparian vegetation in the project area currently is undergoing rapid change as extensive stands of nonnative tamarisk (Tamarix spp., the dominant woody plant in the river corridor) are being affected by expanding populations of the tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda elongata). This beetle was first released in this region in 2005 to control the spread of tamarisk.
Rapid changes in tamarisk populations, associated changes in geomorphic conditions and plant community characteristics (including an influx of additional exotic plant species), and increasing uncertainty about effects of climate change and societal water demands on future flow regimes have resulted in heightened concern about how to most effectively protect or restore resource values along the Colorado River corridor. Collectively, NPS, TNC, and BLM have identified a need for science-based technical support in planning, coordinating, and implementing prioritized conservation actions that will achieve maximum benefits to riverine resources and societal values with limited financial and human resources. FORT has been selected to provide this technical support because of its recognized scientific expertise and credibility in the ecology of riverine ecosystems. Currently their work applies to 146 miles of the Colorado River floodplain, extending from the Utah/Colorado border downstream to the upper limit of Lake Powell in Utah. Future work may extend to the Green River in Canyonlands National Park.