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Establishment of woody riparian species from natural seedfall at a former gravel pit

Restoration Ecology

By:
,
DOI: 10.1046/j.1526-100X.1999.72011.x

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Abstract

Establishment of native riparian communities through natural seedfall may be a viable reclamation alternative at some alluvial sand and gravel mines where water level can be controlled in the abandoned pit. We experimented with this approach at a pit in Fort Collins, Colorado, where a drain culvert equipped with a screw gate allows water levels to be manipulated. From 1994 to 1996 we conducted a series of annual drawdowns during the period of natural seedfall of Populus deltoides subsp. monilifera (plains cottonwood), Salix amygdaloides (peachleaf willow), and S. exigua (sand-bar willow), thus providing the bare, moist substrate conducive to establishment of these species. Establishment was highly variable from year to year; in the fall following establishment, frequency of occurrence on 0.5-m2 sample plots ranged from 8.6% to 50.6% for cottonwood, 15.9% to 22.0% for peachleaf willow, and 21.7% to 50.0% for sandbar willow. Mean densities, however, were comparable to those reported for other locations. Concurrent establishment of the undesirable exotic Tamarix ramosissima (saltcedar) was a problem, but we were able to eradicate most saltcedar seedlings by reflooding the lower elevations of the annual drawdown zones each fall. At the end of the 3-year period, at least one of the three native woody species survived on 41.1% of the plots, while saltcedar was present on only 6.1%. In addition to the potential for establishing valuable native habitats, adaptations of the techniques described may require less earth moving than other reclamation approaches.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Establishment of woody riparian species from natural seedfall at a former gravel pit
Series title:
Restoration Ecology
DOI:
10.1046/j.1526-100X.1999.72011.x
Volume
7
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Restoration Ecology
First page:
183
Last page:
192
Number of Pages:
10