LRES M.S. Thesis Defense: Briana Whitehead
- Friday, April 17, 2020 at 1:00pm
The Response of Parafluvial Soils to Beaver Mimicry Restoration in a Montane Stream
Beaver Mimicry Restoration (BMR) is a relatively new aquatic restoration practice that seeks to improve deteriorated stream ecological functions and services. BMR is designed to rejoin hydrologically disconnected streams with their adjacent floodplains via the installation of small-scale, stream-spanning structures derived from natural materials and inspired by the influence of natural beaver (Castor spp.) dams. These structures capture sediment, elevate stream stage and groundwater tables, create thermal refugia, and help in the re-establishment of riparian vegetation. Most research on the influence of BMR has focused on the hydrological or botanical results, but little is known about the response of parafluvial soils to BMR installations.
Here, I measured soil water content, soil temperature, soil biogeochemical reduction, and vegetation responses at paired BMR-influenced treatment and non-BMR-influenced control locations from June through September of 2018 and 2019 in a southwestern Montana montane stream (USA). In comparison to soils at control sites, soils adjacent to BMR activity experienced an extended period of higher water contents (0.23 m3/m3 higher), increased anoxic conditions (27% more), a less variable (2.5 °C less) and cooler soil temperature range (5° C cooler), and supported longer vegetation greenness (additional 20 days) during the dry months.
- Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences