Riparian Functional Assessment Phase Two Summary
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In an effort to assess the response of degraded riparian buffers to the cessation of the main disturbance regime (mowing) and the facilitated succession approach to riparian restoration, the City of Austin implemented phase 2 of the Riparian Functional Assessment (RFA) which consisted of sampling degraded buffers after 1 year with no disturbance. Only degraded sites were included in this phase and their functional scores were compared with those of reference sites from the initial sample year representing healthy riparian function. A total of 9 degraded sites were added to the initial 16 degraded sites from phase 1 for this assessment. Results suggest that degraded buffers lacked the necessary time to show a response in riparian function after only one year of recovery. Sampling design changes are recommended to better assess the growing number of buffer site locations tracked in this project, including reinstituting reference site sampling and shifting to a biannual sampling regime. Based on analysis of phase 2 data, changes to the assessment tool include the following: substitute organic soil carbon for direct soil moisture measurements, coalesce the hardwood demography and recruitment parameters into woody community dynamics, and upgrade soil compaction instruments for higher accuracy and reliability.
This report contains data regarding the drainage area, restoration strategy and banks sampled of three Waller Creek locations.