Day Two at River Restoration Northwest

Day two is still in session here at #RRNW2013, but I'm taking a brief break to check email and work on some outstanding obligations. Brian Bledsoe of Colorado State University led off the day's events, with a discussion of uncertainty in river restoration. He generally agrees with the work of Joe Wheaton and Darby and Sear as they all believe that restoration designs must not shy away from uncertainty, but embrace it. How uncertainty is embraced within the design, implementation and adaptive management of river and stream restoration projects will shape how success is planned for, and how realistic and ecologically and geomorphically-possible goals may be identified and met. There were some engineer jokes, and some great case studies from Colorado in his talk. Embrace the uncertainty and in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, try to anticipate the "unknown unknowns" that can catastrophically change projects.

Before lunch, I discussed the grazing retirement at Utah's Spawn Creek during the poster sessions. You can link to that poster as a pdf right here. Thanks to anyone who stopped by to chat, it was a lot of fun.

Peter Guillozet discussed some rapid reforestation techniques that his group has been working on, and concluded similar things to those of us who have worked in wet, weedy and novel environments: plant densely, plan for mortality and get things going early and densely. Hopefully their successional management will help them move from stem exclusion to mixed coniferous-deciduous stands and keep the weeds out. I look forward to seeing their projects' development in the long-term. Peter was followed up by Jason Hall of NOAA and Carol Volk of South Fork Research, both of whom are working on Bridge Creek in Oregon. Jason talked about the work he published in Ecological Restoration, a planting experiment that established cottonwood in a heavily-browsed, hot, dry system. The same treatments that governed survival, did not necessarily dictate growth. In short, hit the water table with large whips and keep the elk and beaver off with some sort of tube that also reduces evapotranspiration. Carol showed that unplanted reaches have recovery potential following hydrologic connection of floodplains and channels using beaver.

There are a few more talks and a whole 'nother day tomorrow. So hit twitter hard and discuss your favorite things about this unique symposium and restoration community gathering.


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The Sisters Ridge rises beyond Spawn Creek and Temple Fork, Cache National Forest, 3 FEB 2013.