Assessing ecological benefits of river and floodplain restoration using targeted processes, habitats, species, and stressors

4:30 - 5:30



Restoring the natural vegetation and ecosystem processes of floodplains provides multiple ecological benefits, including habitat for numerous species with varied needs. A synthesis of these benefits would improve upon raw tabulations of changes in land cover and better inform the development and comparison of restoration concepts. To provide such a synthesis for the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan’s Basin-Wide Feasibility Studies, we used ecosystem processes, habitats (ecosystems), species, and stressors that are targets of the Central Valley Flood System Conservation Strategy. For target habitats, changes were synthesized into units of “functional acres” that were based on the area restored, the targeted processes and stressors affecting that area, and one to several additional attributes of the restored vegetation. For target species, benefits were measured by associating predicted restoration outcomes to species conservation needs. Results showed that adding natural vegetation to a site increased its functional value generally in proportion to the amount of acreage added, but value varied based on the extent to which a site could accommodate additional hydrogeomorphic processes, such as increased floodplain inundation and meander potential in riparian areas.

Room Name
Ballroom B