Riparian treatments, consisting of 3- to 4-m buffer strips, stream bank stabilization, and rock-lined stream crossings, were installed in two streams with livestock grazing to reduce sediment loading and stream bank erosion. Cedar Run and Slab Cabin Run, the treatment streams, and Spring Creek, an adjacent reference stream without riparian grazing, were monitored prior to (1991-1992) and 3-5 years after (2001-2003) riparian buffer installation to assess channel morphology, stream substrate composition, suspended sediments, and macroinvertebrate communities. Few changes were found in channel widths and depths, but channel-structuring flow events were rare in the drought period after restoration. Stream bank vegetation increased from 50% or less to 100% in nearly all formerly grazed riparian buffers. The proportion of fine sediments in stream substrates decreased in Cedar Run but not in Slab Cabin Run. After riparian treatments, suspended sediments during base flow and storm flow decreased 47-87% in both streams. Macroinvertebrate diversity did not improve after restoration in either treated stream. Relative to Spring Creek, macroinvertebrate densities increased in both treated streams by the end of the posttreatment sampling period. Despite drought conditions that may have altered physical and biological effects of riparian treatments, goals of the riparian restoration to minimize erosion and sedimentation were met. A relatively narrow grass buffer along 2.4 km of each stream was effective in improving water quality, stream substrates, and some biological metrics. ?? 2007 Society for Ecological Restoration International.
Additional publication details
Responses to riparian restoration in the Spring Creek watershed, Central Pennsylvania