A Prioritized Procedure for Determining Stream and Riparian Area Existing and Desired Conditions

    A Prioritized Procedure for Determining Stream and Riparian Area Existing and Desired Conditions

     

     

    There are 30,000 miles of streams and rivers in Utah. There are concerns with sediment, hydrologic function, riparian cover, and in-stream habitat on many of these. Some of these concerns are due to grazing by domestic and wild ungulates. Administering ungulate grazing to ensure overall desired stream and riparian area conditions are being achieved is problematic without first having good data on existing physical condition. Only after current and necessary physical condition are known and determined can interdisciplinary identification of overall desired condition, and the departure between existing and overall desired condition, be determined. Acquisition of existing physical condition information and subsequent determination of overall desired condition is not a simple proposition, nor is collection and determination immediate. This is in part due to the vastness of lands available to ungulate grazing and the linear extent of streams and rivers across them. This presentation proposes a procedure for prioritizing and determining physical stream and riparian area existing and necessary condition, and subsequent overall desired condition. The proposal contains a monitoring strategy for assessing whether necessary physical condition, a pre-requisite to achieving overall desired condition, is being achieved.

    The procedure prioritizes assessment and monitoring by focusing only on stream and valley types most susceptible to ungulate grazing. Step 1 is the determination of current stream and riparian successional state and functioning condition. Step 2 is the identification of necessary stream and riparian area successional state and functioning condition, and adjustment of current management if necessary. Step 3 involves monitoring to determine if necessary stream and riparian area successional state and functioning condition are being maintained or achieved. Step 4 is the determination, once necessary successional state and functioning condition are being maintained or achieved, of overall desired condition and, if necessary, adjustment of management accordingly.