The temperature at three out of the four locations data was collected from was higher this year than the baseline temperature taken in 2015. This could be due to several factors, such as variable weather conditions or the fact that the riparian buffer has not yet reached “free-to-grow” status. The reference site, Trout Creek, is an excellent example of what shading from lots of surrounding native vegetation can do for the water temperature. From 2015 to 2017, the temperature at Trout Creek was recorded to be lower.
The most interesting result from photopoint monitoring was seeing how Goose Creek has changed in the past few years due to the efforts of our project. It was also a great tool for seeing how water levels at Goose Creek can change due to the weather and how quickly reed-canary grass can grow after mowing.
The 2017 baseline data shows that we did not see any Western Pond Turtles or Red-eared Sliders, but we know that there are turtles at Goose Creek from eye-witness testimony from the owner. As further restoration of Phase II occurs, we expect that the turtle population will increase and that future teams should observe turtles.
Overall the species diversity and abundance for Goose Creek had increased in 2017 compared to 2016. Species found in Trout creek were those which thrived in higher water quality while those found in Goose Creek were more pollution-tolerant species, indicative of lower water quality characteristics.
Our 2017 findings displayed an overall decrease in growth compared to the 2016 ELP team. Some species were more vigorous than others. For instance, willow (Salix spp.) and red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) had shown increased growth rates while shrubs such as clustered wild rose (Rosa pisocarpa) and snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) decreased. This could have been caused by Elk grazing as well as the higher proportion of rainfall we received this year, favoring more drought tolerant species over others.
Our 2017 findings showed a decrease in the total amount of pollinators found across all transects that were monitored. There are several reasons we believe this to be the case, most importantly was the fact that the weather was very unfavorable to pollinators throughout the term, with heavy rains and high winds on most days we attempted to observe. Another interesting observation the data provided was the fact that the honeybee overtook the bumblebee for most pollinators observed. Previous ELP teams have always found more bumblebee’s than honeybee’s, so this reversal in observation shows how the ecosystem of the ranch is changing over time.
PHASE I PLOTS
2017 Riparian Restoration final report
PHASE II TRANSECTS
The biggest difference between the baseline data from the 2016 team and the data collected this year was the increase in many native plant species. Thus, the plot data for the first six transects showed several new plants that the 2016 team did not have.