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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

NCER Grantee Research Project Results

Restoring Aquatic Ecosystem Services on the Clearwater National Forest Through Integrated Science and Management

EPA Grant Number: FP917280
Title: Restoring Aquatic Ecosystem Services on the Clearwater National Forest Through Integrated Science and Management
Investigators: Lloyd, Rebecca A
Institution: University of Arizona
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2014
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2011)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Ecosystem Services: Aquatic Systems Ecology

Description:

Objective:

This research will evaluate how restoring stacked forest road systems affect the recovery of ecological and hydrologic processes at multiple scales. This study will quantify recovery rates and evaluate road restoration within an ecosystem services framework.

Approach:

This study will evaluate recovery rates of ecohydrologic properties with a combination of field sampling from transects established across a restoration age gradient and compare these to never roaded areas, and incorporate modeling to evaluate restoration impacts at a hillslope and watershed scale. Data collected will include above and below ground ecological structure, soil physical properties and nutrient pools/ fluxes, and hydrologic characteristics. Models will incorporate field collected data, LiDAR data and numerical modeling of hillslope hydrology to synthesize and predict watershed response to restoration. Watershed responses will be evaluated in the context of how ecosystem service production is changed following road restoration.

Expected Results:

This research will address critical gaps in scientific understanding regarding how to link ecosystem structure and function to ecosystem services by focusing on restoration through removal of extensive road networks. Results will include quantified ecohydrological recovery rates of removed roads compared to never-roaded reference areas. These results will be synthesized into a model to predict recovery at a larger scale and link recovery to changes in production of valued ecosystem services such as quantity of water and fisheries.

Potential to Further Environmental/ Human Health Protection

Resource managers responsible for protecting valuable ecosystem services produced from public lands will benefit from research on watershed restoration. Given the accelerated emphasis on road removal, research on the function of restored hillslopes and response of different reclamation treatments becomes particularly pressing to support and improve these ongoing efforts. This will be the first research to frame road removal and watershed restoration within a larger context of protecting ecosystem services on which humans depend and how restoration may enhance aquatic ecosystem services such as clean and abundant water as well as fisheries production.

Supplemental Keywords:

restoration, road decommissioning, ecosystem services, ecohydrology

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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