Oregon estuaries provide important opportunities to assess controls on tidal saline wetland carbon burial and sediment accretion as both rates of relative sea level rise (RSLR; −1.4 ± 0.9 to 2.8 ± 0.8 mm yr−1 ) and fluvial suspended sediment load relative to estuary area (0.23 to 17 × 103 t km−2 yr−1 ) vary along the coast. We hypothesized that vertical accretion, measured using excess 210Pb in least‐disturbed wetlands within seven Oregon estuaries, would vary with either RSLR or sediment load relative to estuary area, and carbon burial would correlate strongly to sediment accretion. Mean rates of high [...]
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Within the context of climate adaptation, the concept of climate refugia has emerged as a framework for addressing future threats to freshwater fish populations. We evaluated recent climate-refugia management associated with water use and landscape modification by comparing efforts in the US states of Oregon and Massachusetts, for which there are contrasting resource use patterns. Using these examples, we discuss tools and principles that can be applied more broadly. Although many early efforts to identify climate refugia have focused on water temperature, substantial gains in evaluating other factors and processes regulating climate refugia (eg stream flow, groundwater availability) are [...]
The coastal ecosystems of temperate North America provide a variety of ecosystem services including high rates of carbon sequestration. Yet, little data exist for the carbon stocks of major tidal wetland types in the Pacific Northwest, United States. We quantified the total ecosystem carbon stocks (TECS) in seagrass, emergent marshes, and forested tidal wetlands, occurring along increasing elevation and decreasing salinity gradients. The TECS included the total aboveground carbon stocks and the entire soil profile (to as deep as 3 m). TECS significantly increased along the elevation and salinity gradients: 217 ± 60 Mg C/ha for seagrass (low elevation/high [...]
Comparing Historical Losses of Forested, Scrub-shrub, & Emergent Tidal Wetlands on the Oregon Coast (Brophy, 2019)admin2022-06-28T13:40:38+00:00
This study evaluated historical extent (prior to European settlement), current extent, and losses for each of the three major tidal wetland types (emergent, scrub-shrub, and forested) on the Oregon coast. The first study of its kind on the Oregon coast, it produced results vital to conservation and restoration planning, since these wetland types are often targets for restoration and each type supplies unique ecosystem services. The study included the coast's 15 largest estuaries; they contain 96.5% of the coast's historical tidal wetland area, so results are representative of the coast in general. VIEW PDF
Stream Conditions after 18 Years of Passive Riparian Restoration in Small Fish-Bearing Watersheds (Martens et al, 2019)admin2022-06-28T13:42:22+00:00
Many of the ecological processes in the riparian forests and streams across the Pacific Northwest have become impaired through production forestry practices common prior to the 1990s. Some of these practices included forest harvest without stream buffers, removal of instream wood, road construction and use, and harvesting large proportions of watersheds. Passive ecological restoration (the use of natural processes of succession and disturbance to alleviate anthropogenic impacts over time) is a common practice used in the management of riparian forests previously subjected to production forestry. Eighteen years after the implementation of passive restoration of riparian forests, we used four [...]
Effective conservation and restoration of estuarine wetlands require accurate maps of their historical and current extent, as well as estimated losses of these valued habitats. Existing coast-wide tidal wetland mapping does not explicitly map historical tidal wetlands that are now disconnected from the tides, which represent restoration opportunities; nor does it use water level models or high-resolution elevation data (e.g. lidar) to accurately identify current tidal wetlands. To better inform estuarine conservation and restoration, we generated new maps of current and historical tidal wetlands for the entire contiguous U.S. West Coast (Washington, Oregon, and California). The new maps are [...]
Simulations of stream temperatures showed a wide range of future thermal regimes under a warming climate — from 2.9°C warmer to 7.6°C cooler than current conditions — depending primarily on shade from riparian vegetation. We used the stream temperature model, Heat Source, to analyze a 37-km study segment of the upper Middle Fork John Day River, located in northeast Oregon, USA. We developed alternative future scenarios based on downscaled projections from climate change models and the composition and structure of native riparian forests. We examined 36 scenarios combining future changes in air temperature (DTair = 0°C, +2°C, and +4°C), [...]
The coastal ecosystems of temperate North America provide a variety of ecosystem services including high rates of carbon sequestration. Yet, little data exist for the carbon stocks of major tidal wetland types in the Pacific Northwest, United States. We quantified the total ecosystem carbon stocks (TECS) in seagrass, emergent marshes, and forested tidal wetlands, occurring along increasing elevation and decreasing salinity gradients. The TECS included the total aboveground carbon stocks and the entire soil profile (to as deep as 3 m). TECS significantly increased along the elevation and salinity gradients: 217 ± 60 Mg C/ha for seagrass (low elevation/high salinity), [...]
This document reports on findings, conclusions and recommendations derived from scientific literature and knowledge regarding the effectiveness of tide gate removal or upgrade in improving conditions for Oregon’s native migratory fish species, particularly salmonids, and other plant and animal species that utilize estuarine ecosystems. The project was commissioned by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) to foster better understanding of the effectiveness of their past investments in estuary habitat restoration involving tide gates, and to aid in targeting future investments. This will be especially important because many less-complicated projects (e.g. those on public land, smaller, single-action projects, those with [...]
Stream restoration approaches most often quantify habitat degradation, and therefore recovery objectives, on aquatic habitat metrics based on a narrow range of species needs (e.g., salmon and trout), as well as channel evolution models and channel design tools biased toward single‐threaded, and “sediment‐balanced” channel patterns. Although this strategy enhances perceived habitat needs, it often fails to properly identify the underlying geomorphological and ecological processes limiting species recovery and ecosystem restoration. In this paper, a unique process‐based approach to restoration that strives to restore degraded stream, river, or meadow systems to the premanipulated condition is presented. The proposed relatively simple [...]