Latah SWCD does much of their work restoring wetlands, wet meadows, and riparian zones
Webster's New World Dictionary, college edition defines riparian as: "of, adjacent to, or living on the bank of a river or, sometimes, of a lake, pond, etc." Riparian zones occur along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, springs, and sometimes tidewater. They have high water tables because of their close proximity to aquatic ecosystems, certain soil characteristics, and some vegetation that requires free (unbound) water or conditions that are more moist than normal. These zones are transitional between aquatic and upland zones. As such they contain elements of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
In general terms, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface.The single feature that most wetlands share is soil or substrate that is at least periodically saturated with or covered by water. The water creates severe physiological problems for all plants and animals except those that are adapted for life in water or in saturated soil. (from Classifications of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States)
Beavers restoration is a big part of wetland restoration. In recent decades, the capacity of beaver to change their environments for the better has led many to view the species in a new light. A growing body of research indicates that the habitat modifications induced by beaver create a boon for a broad spectrum of fish and wildlife beyond the beavers themselves. Furthermore, the list of beneficiaries clearly includes people and our domestic stock in some settings. The crucial role of the beaver as an ecosystem engineer is particularly apparent in landscapes where water is a limiting factor and climates are becoming more arid and warm. Previously occupied patches of suitable beaver habitat in these settings are optimal places to consider beaver restoration projects. (from Beaver Restoration Toolbox)
Why Wetland and Riparian Restoration?
Healthy riparian communities mediate the delivery of water to streams, slowing overland flows and reducing their velocity, allowing greater infiltration and storage, leading to more stable base flow conditions. Riparian vegetation also acts as a source for recruitment of large woody debris to stream channels, and an associated attenuation of high runoff velocities. Wetlands also slow overland flows and promote infiltration and storage, improving base flows. Improved storage allows slower, longer release of cool waters into waterways longer into the season.
1. Coordinate local riparian restoration efforts, including stream side plantings, fenced cattle exclosures and off-stream watering developments, control of invasive vegetation, and stream bank stabilization.
2. Coordinate conservation programs designed to encourage the establishment of permanent vegetative cover and restoration of prairie, wetlands, and riparian zones.
3. Coordinate local restoration efforts designed to stabilize known sources of sediment input (e.g. eroding gullies, bare stream banks, forest roads).
4. Coordinate conservation planning with agricultural producers, including the use of conservation programs designed to encourage protection of prairie, wetland, and riparian areas and highly erodible lands.
5. Inform interested landowners regarding cover crops, crop rotations, residue management, sustainable forest practices, and prairie restoration.
6. Endorse forest practices that encourage the recruitment of large woody debris to streams.
To visit the full USGS Potlatch River Gage site click here.
To visit the full USGS Palouse River Gage site click here.