ClimateEngine.org Helps Assess Effectiveness of Riparian Restoration Projects

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Assessments of restoration effectiveness in riparian areas depend on quality monitoring data, which can be both expensive and difficult to collect. 

Researchers investigated a method to evaluate the effectiveness of restoring riparian vegetation using a cloud-computing and visualization tool (ClimateEngine.org) powered by Google Earth Engine to access and process remote sensing and climate data. Restoration efforts on an Eastern Oregon ranch were assessed by analyzing the riparian areas of four creeks. The researchers were able to demonstrate response in riparian and streamside vegetation to restoration treatments using statistical procedures that accounted for inter-annual variation in precipitation. The in-stream structures, which raised the water table in adjacent riparian areas, provided additional water to the streamside vegetation that was not available before restoration. Authors point out that their approach and analysis offers a powerful and cost-effective way to evaluate effectiveness of one aspect of restoration projects, especially projects that are implemented with little or no field-level monitoring.

 

Hausner, M.B., Huntington, J.L., Nash, C., Morton, C., McEvoy, D.J., Pilliod, D.S., Hegewisch, K.C., Daudert, B., Abatzoglou, J.T., Grant, G.E., 2018, Assessing the effectiveness of riparian restoration projects using Landsat and precipitation data from the cloud-computing application ClimateEngine.org: Ecological Engineering, v. 120, no. 2018, p. 432-440, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2018.06.024

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