Sierra Meadow Prioritization Tool Database

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The Sierra Meadow Prioritization Tool Database includes all 24 conservation target datasets of the Tool in the form of related tables. All tables are related to the Sierra Meadows Table based on the UC Davis Meadow ID, allowing for the user to generate tailored queries that incorporate data from the different tables for aid in decision-making. The user guide and data dictionary includes all associated metadata, data sources, and detailed description and rationale of the different indicators associated with each conservation target as well as suggested scoring approaches. The tool provides a strategic, flexible approach for prioritizing Sierra meadows to achieve multiple benefits. The tool can be used to inform decision-making about which meadows to prioritize for restoration, protection, and/or conservation actions that will maximize benefits to biodiversity and ecosystem targets. Funding for the tool was provided by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. The tool was developed by the Sierra Meadows Partnership Prioritization Work Group, with leadership from Point Blue.

Ecosystem function, degradation, and restoration in wetlands of the Sierra Nevada, California

The wetlands of the Sierra Nevada were formed and are maintained by a feedback between soil, plant, and hydrologic processes. Primary production of plants builds soil organic matter and plant roots bind soil, preventing erosion during flooding. In turn, soil organic matter retains water and nutrients that support plant growth, while the hydrologic regime regulates soil organic matter decomposition, plant community makeup, and plant production. The relative stability of these interacting processes has built thick meadow soils over the past several thousand years. However, modern human impacts such as livestock grazing and water extraction have decoupled the interacting processes. Removal of plants by grazers exposes soil to water erosion and reduces production, the source of soil organic matter. Erosion gully formation and direct water extraction lower the wetland water table, speeding soil organic matter decomposition, altering plant community composition, and reducing production. Gully formation and loss of soil organic matter occur rapidly but are extremely slow to reverse by natural processes alone. Wetlands that have experienced these impacts enter alternative stable states that will not quickly return to their original configurations. In these cases, ecological restoration is necessary to repair human impacts and reestablish the stabilizing feedback of soil, plant, and hydrologic processes. This dissertation is composed of five chapters that explore wetland ecosystem function and restoration in the Sierra Nevada.
Journal Article

Wood chip soil amendments in restored wetlands affect plant growth by reducing compaction and increasing dissolved phenolics

Adding chipped wood to soil ameliorates compaction, allowing faster plant growth that is critical to successful wetland restorations. Following the filling and planting of an erosion gully in Halstead Meadow, Sequoia National Park, the tallest leaf height and maximum clone width of transplanted Scirpus microcarpus seedlings were negatively correlated with soil compaction. Plant height decreased by 9.8 cm and width decreased by 11.9 cm per MPa of soil compaction (range of 0.74–4.50MPa). We experimentally amended mineral soil in a test trench and found that every 0.10 cm3/cm3 addition of wood chips (range of 0.00–0.75 cm3/cm3) reduced compaction by 0.174MPa. Had the Halstead Meadow gully fill contained an equivalent volume of wood chips to the reference area soil organic matter content (0.64 cm3/cm3), we predict compaction would have been reduced by 1.11MPa, increasing individual transplant width spread by 36%, approximately doubling the vegetated area after two growing seasons. In a greenhouse phytometer experiment, conifer bark leachate (phenolics 211 mg/L) significantly reduced plant growth and, in the presence of added nutrients, increased the production of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase (PPO). However, phenolics concentration in bark-free conifer wood leachate (12mg/L), similar to field-sampled concentrations, did not affect plant growth or PPO production. Pure conifer bark is not recommended as a soil amendment, but the addition of low-bark-content wood chips to gully fill may be a feasible and effective means of reducing soil compaction, accelerating plant establishment, and lowering wetland restoration project costs.
Journal Article

Restoring Truckee Meadows- Assessment and Prioritization

Between 2014 and 2017, American Rivers was funded by NFWF to use the meadow scorecard in the Middle Truckee River Basin to focus investment and accelerate the pace of restoration. We assessed every accessible meadow in the watershed that is larger than 15 acres, 30 in all. We prioritized these meadows for restoration with a working group comprised of local stakeholders who are actively and strategically pursing restoration in the watershed. We identified 6 priority meadows in the Middle Truckee River watershed.

Evaluating and Prioritizing Meadow Restoration in the Sierra

This report briefly describes the methods we developed and presents findings from applying the methods in the Yuba and Mokelumne River watersheds.The methods we developed and the on-the-ground data for the Yuba and Mokelumne watersheds supply a replicable template that may be applied in other watersheds to focus meadow restoration effort where it will provide the greatest value. The prioritized list of meadows we developed galvanized support of the top restoration candidate (see From Prioritization to Restoration, below) and, within six months, resulted in completed permits and three funding proposals.Our ultimate goal is to accelerate and improve meadow restoration. The steps we took in this project focus on providing the infrastructure necessary for meadow restoration to gain and sustain momentum into its next phase, where watershed-scale impacts are anticipated.

Meadow Hydrogeomorphic Types for the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascade Ranges in California

The purpose of this document is to provide a dichotomous key to meadow hydrogeomorphic types for the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascades of California. This classification and field key uses both hydrology and geomorphology to identify fourteen meadow types. Strengths of the classification include its ability to clarify the relationship between hydrology and geomorphology and meadow function.