1999 Progress Report: Riparian Reforestation in an Urbanizing Watershed: Effects of Upland Conditions on Instream Ecological Benefits

EPA Grant Number: R825798
Title: Riparian Reforestation in an Urbanizing Watershed: Effects of Upland Conditions on Instream Ecological Benefits
Investigators: Hession, W. C. , Charles, Donald F. , Hart, D. D. , Horwitz, R. J. , Johnson, T. E. , Kreeger, D. A. , Newbold, J. Denis , Pizzuto, J. E. , Velinsky, D. J.
Current Investigators: Hession, W. C. , Charles, Donald F. , Hart, D. D. , Horwitz, R. J. , Kreeger, D. A. , Newbold, J. Denis , Pizzuto, J. E. , Velinsky, D. J.
Institution: Academy of Natural Sciences , Patrick Center for Environmental Research , University of Delaware
Current Institution: Academy of Natural Sciences , University of Delaware
EPA Project Officer: Manty, Dale
Project Period: June 1, 1998 through May 31, 2001
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 1998 through May 31, 1999
Project Amount: $837,685
RFA: Ecosystem Restoration (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management , Ecosystems

Objective:

The objectives are to: (1) understand the effects of riparian reforestation on the structure, function, and dynamics of stream ecosystems in urbanizing watersheds; (2) define exposure-response relationships for structural and functional stream ecosystem attributes (chemical, physical, and biological) based on the level of upland or contributing watershed urbanization for streams with and without riparian forests; (3) develop models so local and state decisionmakers can prioritize riparian reforestation efforts based on expected ecological benefit; and (4) measure and evaluate the rates at which various chemical, physical, and biological variables respond to riparian reforestation, to define effectiveness criteria for a restoration activity that may take many years to be fully manifested.

Progress Summary:

During the period of October 1, 1998, to September 30, 1999, a search for Year 2 study sites was conducted, and six forested/nonforested paired-reach sites and two new unpaired-forested sites were selected for study. The ecological characterization of Year 2 sites was initiated, and the ecological characterization of Year 1 sites was completed. An overview of work completed during this period follows.

During spring 1999, a detailed habitat assessment was conducted at each Year 1 site that included mapping habitat types, detailed substrate size analysis for each habitat type, measures of available cover, measures of woody debris abundance and dimensions, and measures of flow depth and velocity. We believe this information will be important in linking observed stream geomorphic and ecologic characteristics. Also, during June and July 1999, nutrient cycling experiments using injected bromide, nitrogen, and phosphorus tracers were conducted at the two restored sites and three of the Year 1 paired-reach sites. These experiments will provide information about nutrient uptake and release in forested and nonforested stream reaches along an urban gradient.

At Beaver Run (a Year 1 site), bedload transport rates were measured during nine storms in the forested and open reaches, and results indicate that over a 10-year period, forested reaches transport three times as much bed material as open reaches. Bank erosion rates also are being measured at four sites in both open and forested reaches using erosion pins and dendrochronology techniques.

Fieldwork at Year 2 sites began in May 1999. Each Year 2 study reach was surveyed to establish the longitudinal and five cross-sectional profiles per reach, including one permanent cross-section at each reach for future monitoring of geomorphological changes. Permanent cross-sections were marked with steel rebar, photographed, and mapped using a high-quality GPS unit with differential correction. Channel substrate size and distribution were characterized, geomorphic classification determined (Rosgen and Montgomery methods), and a detailed drawing was made of each reach. Year 1 restored reaches also were resurveyed to determine any changes in channel dimensions and/or substrate characteristics following restoration, and two forested/nonforested paired-reach sites from Year 1 were resurveyed to establish a baseline against which changes in restored reaches can be evaluated.

During summer 1999, recording temperature probes were installed at the upstream and downstream end of each Year 2 reach, streamflow staff gauges were installed, and streamflow measurements were made to begin the development of stage-discharge rating curves at each Year 2 study location.

In September 1999, algae and diatom community analyses were completed, and tissue samples were collected for isotopic and biochemical analysis at each Year 2 study site. Water quality samples were collected from each study reach in early and late September, and will be analyzed for a standard suite of analytes. Riparian vegetation also was characterized during September at each Year 2 site. Vegetation and algae data for each reach will be analyzed and cataloged during fall and winter 1999/2000.

At present, we are about halfway through the Year 2 field season. During late fall and winter 1999/2000, fish and macroinvertebrate community studies will be conducted and tissue samples collected for isotopic and biochemical analysis at each of the Year 2 sites. Fish sampling will be conducted in late fall to avoid sampling during low-flow periods, and macroinvertebrate sampling in February to coincide with the period of maximum larval abundance in low order streams of southeastern Pennsylvania. Nutrient cycling experiments will be conducted at selected Year 2 sites during June 2000.

Future Activities:

During late fall and winter 1999/2000, fish and macroinvertebrate community studies will be conducted, and tissue samples will be collected for isotopic and biochemical analyses at each of the Year 2 sites. Nutrient cycling experiments will be conducted at selected Year 2 sites during spring 2000. Temperature probes will be monitored and maintained at all Year 2 study sites until late summer 2000, and stream discharge will be measured periodically over the next year to establish stage-discharge rating curves at each site. Watershed characterization, geographic information system (GIS) modeling, and the analysis of field data for Year 2 sites will begin in late fall and winter 1999/2000. In summer 2000, the data analysis, synthesis, and paper preparation phase of the project will begin.


Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 33 publications 2 publications in selected types All 2 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Hession WC, Johnson TE, Charles DF, Hart DD, Horwitz RJ, Kreeger DA, Pizzuto JE, Velinsky DJ, Newbold JD, Cianfrani C, Clason T, Compton AM, Coulter N, Fuselier L, Marshall BD, Reed J. Ecological benefits of riparian reforestation in urban watersheds: study design and preliminary results. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2000;63(1):211-222.349. R825798 (1999)
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    ecology, restoration, urbanization, stream, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Water & Watershed, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Restoration, Forestry, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, Watersheds, Ecological Indicators, ecological exposure, risk assessment, riparian reforestation, forest, streams, watershed, reforestation, Riparian ecosystem, environmental assets, upland conditions, conservation, ecological recovery, riparian, aquatic ecosystems, economic, urbanizing coastal watershed, water quality, forested watershed, ecological benefits, environmentally stable landscape, public policy

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.acnatsci.org

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
    2000 Progress Report
    2001 Progress Report
    Final Report