Effects of high flow experiments on riparian vegetation resources in Grand Canyon
Flood events have historically had a strong impact on riparian vegetation within Grand Canyon. Pre-dam sandbars were nearly devoid of perennial riparian vegetation due to the magnitude and frequency of periodic floods (Turner and Karpiscak, 1980). Vegetation has increased since dam closure (Waring, 1995), particularly since the early 1990s (Sankey and others, 2015). This increase in vegetation is attributable to multiple aspects of dam operations, including the low magnitude and duration of High-Flow Experiments (HFEs), specifically flows at 45,000 cfs or smaller over 96 hours. Thus, we begin by providing a broader context for understanding vegetation change, and how other factors interact with HFEs to determine their influence on riparian vegetation. We then discuss the potential mechanisms by which HFEs may impact vegetation, the empirical evidence for those impacts and associated confidence in that evidence, and future research approaches to better fill these gaps in our understanding.
|Effects of high flow experiments on riparian vegetation resources in Grand Canyon
|B.J. Butterfield, Emily C. Palmquist, Joel B. Sankey
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Southwest Biological Science Center