Title

Passive stream restoration: A damming approach

Presenter Information

Melody FedenFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Watershed Studies

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Howard Whiteman

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Anthropogenic landscape modification has homogenized stream morphology and negatively affected water quality leading to extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition. Currently, freshwater faunal extinction rates are five times that of terrestrial biota. An acknowledgement of aquatic habitat degradation is increasingly accompanied by efforts toward ecological restoration. Due to a lack of funding and resources, ecologists often choose passive restoration techniques, like beaver reintroduction, particularly for deeply incised streams. Beavers and the dams they build can shape freshwater ecosystems on a watershed scale by raising the water table, decreasing stream velocity, and forming ponds that widen the riparian zone creating complex aquatic habitat. By slowing stream velocity and trapping sediment, beaver ponds can aggrade a stream channel over time and eventually reconnect the stream to its floodplain, increasing riparian habitat. However, few studies have quantified the effectiveness of using beavers as a passive restoration tool, especially at high population densities. My objective is to test the effectiveness of using beavers as a passive restoration tool by quantifying the effects of beaver dams on stream morphology, water quality, primary production, and insect emergence. My study will take place in Kimball Creek, a degraded stream in western Colorado, with a density of beaver dams at approximately 20 dams per km. My predictions are that beaver pond complexes will improve water quality, decrease stream channel incision, and increase primary production and emerging insect biomass.

Spring Scholars Week 2018 Event

Watershed Research Institute Symposium

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Passive stream restoration: A damming approach

Anthropogenic landscape modification has homogenized stream morphology and negatively affected water quality leading to extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition. Currently, freshwater faunal extinction rates are five times that of terrestrial biota. An acknowledgement of aquatic habitat degradation is increasingly accompanied by efforts toward ecological restoration. Due to a lack of funding and resources, ecologists often choose passive restoration techniques, like beaver reintroduction, particularly for deeply incised streams. Beavers and the dams they build can shape freshwater ecosystems on a watershed scale by raising the water table, decreasing stream velocity, and forming ponds that widen the riparian zone creating complex aquatic habitat. By slowing stream velocity and trapping sediment, beaver ponds can aggrade a stream channel over time and eventually reconnect the stream to its floodplain, increasing riparian habitat. However, few studies have quantified the effectiveness of using beavers as a passive restoration tool, especially at high population densities. My objective is to test the effectiveness of using beavers as a passive restoration tool by quantifying the effects of beaver dams on stream morphology, water quality, primary production, and insect emergence. My study will take place in Kimball Creek, a degraded stream in western Colorado, with a density of beaver dams at approximately 20 dams per km. My predictions are that beaver pond complexes will improve water quality, decrease stream channel incision, and increase primary production and emerging insect biomass.