Assessment and Monitoring Tools for Riparian Areas
In 1996, the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, created a national riparian strategy called “Accelerating Cooperative Riparian Restoration and Management.” An interagency, interdisciplinary team, the National Riparian Service Team (RNST), based in Prineville, Oregon, was established to implement the Strategy. To assist with implementation of the Strategy, a Riparian Coordination Network (RCN) has been established with Riparian Service Teams in each of the western states, Canada, and Mexico. The RNST and RCN has adopted as foundational tools, the Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) riparian assessment protocol, a methodology for assessing the functionality and health of riparian areas, and the Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) protocol, a methodology for monitoring use and management impacts on stream channels and riparian vegetation. The PFC methodology provides a consistent approach for assessing the physical functioning of riparian areas through consideration of hydrology, vegetation, soil and landform attributes. MIM is a monitoring methodology that allows for statistical analysis of a comprehensive group of interrelated indicators, including three short-term and seven long-term indicators. This presentation gives a brief introduction to these two useful tools for assessing and monitoring riparian areas. Training opportunities provided by national and state Riparian Service Teams to help practitioners become proficient in the proper use of these tools are also mentioned.