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Geomorphic, climate, streamflow and vegetation data sets to reconstruct channel and vegetation changes associated with the invasion of Russian olive along the Escalante River, Utah 1950-2015.

July 24, 2018

We analyzed historical aerial photography and used dendrochronology to quantify long-term spatial and temporal patterns of narrowing and vegetation expansion, including native cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and non-native Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), along the largely unregulated Escalante River in Utah, USA. Our general study area was between the town of Escalante and Choprock Canyon, and we focused on two detailed study reaches within this broader area. The study reaches were in long, entrenched meander sections of river: an upper reach, Reach 1, was approximately 15 river kilometers (rkms) long and located between Sand and Boulder creeks within Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument; and a lower reach, Reach 2, was ~16 rkms in length, extending from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area boundary to just upstream of Choprock Canyon. Russian olive establishment was determined using dendrochronological analysis of cut-stumps in 2015 and analyzed with respect to hydrologic and climatic variables. Geospatial data associated with this work is here made public and includes a total of four shape files and a csv file. One shape file contains point data representing the spatial location and field-determined ages of 729 Russian olive stems. Three shapefiles contain polygons representing active channel, and bottomland geomorphic surfaces along with an estimate of the vegetation cover associated with that surface. These three shape files represent the same study locations in three different eras: 1951/1960, 1981, and 2010. The csv file contains climate and streamflow data that were used in evaluating the relationship between Russian olive establishment and hydroclimate variables. The data released here are associated with a publication that describes the project and results in more detail: Scott, M.L., Reynolds, L.V., Shafroth, P.B., and Spence, J.R. 2018. The role of a non-native tree in riparian vegetation expansion and channel narrowing along a dryland river. Ecohydrology.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Geomorphic, climate, streamflow and vegetation data sets to reconstruct channel and vegetation changes associated with the invasion of Russian olive along the Escalante River, Utah 1950-2015.
DOI 10.5066/F7KH0MMK
Authors Scott Michael L., Reynolds Lindasy V., Shafroth Patrick B, Spence John R.
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center