Riparian Restoration Research & Monitoring

planted trees

Selected planted trees are monitored for growth and vigor.

Two experiments have been implemented to develop more effective riparian restoration treatments suited to conditions in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. One, which began in 2001, evaluated the effect of understory clearing and tilling for riparian conifer underplanting. This experiment has shown that understory clearing is needed for adequate conifer seedling survival and growth but tilling of soil conferred no additional benefit.

The second, initiated in 2008, is evaluating different spacing for riparian restoration thinning and its effects on channel stability and understory development. Up through 2008, SPU has used a standard 10 feet spacing near stream channels in restoration thinning areas to protect root strength and associated channel stability. However, there may be greater benefit from wider spacing, if we can alleviate risk of reduced channel stability. We are also evaluating the effect of interplanting red alder in the thinning experiment.

We conduct ongoing effectiveness monitoring of riparian conifer underplanting and release treatments to evaluate how our methods are working and if projects are meeting intended objectives. Although we can not monitor all projects, we have selected a few of the early ones, which will be used to refine our techniques for conifer underplanting and release.

For details on monitoring results see
Riparian Conifer Underplanting Monitoring Report (pdf).