Just around the Riverbend: Introduction of a meander and the effects on biotic and abiotic components

Streams carry nutrients, sediment and other materials into rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Streams naturally meander, and streams with low sinuosity are less likely to have basic pool-riffle features along with regular erosion and deposition patterns. When a stream lacks natural sinuosity, it also tends to have degraded habitat, causing a reduction in species and steep bank incisions.

Streams also are important for a lot of living things such as macroinvertebrates and fish. The presence of invertebrates is a great indicator of localized conditions and stream health. Fish are good indicators of long-term effects and broad habitat conditions.

As a restoration measure to a heavily eroded stream, sinuosity will be increased with the addition of beaver dam analogues to introduce a meander in a 150-meter stretch of a first order stream. To help stabilize the riparian zone and decrease erosion into the stream, native plants will be planted in the riparian zone as well as the addition of a zuni bowl waterfall feature. These changes lead directly into our restoration goals:

Restoration Goals: (1) Restore hydrologic and vegetative characteristics of altered meadows and riparian areas. (2) Create and sustain diverse habitats supporting diverse species. (3) Ensure adequate ground cover to prevent siltation of waterways. (4) Reduce erosion from roads and improvements.

Restoration Objectives: (1) decrease stream flow, (2) decrease sediment and bank incision, (3) Improve aquatic habitat, (4) Improve riparian habitat, (5) Improve water quality.

Monitoring Objectives: Evaluate whether added sinuosity (introduced meander) decreased sediment input, decreased stream flow, and recolonize stream community.

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