Project Effectiveness Monitoring
All restoration projects are monitored prior and after restoration to document their effectiveness in meeting desired condition objectives and/or potential ecosystem services enhanced or created by the project. Water quality and quantity, terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, habitat, forage production, groundwater storage, and carbon sequestration are the primary parameters that Plumas Corporation staff has experience in monitoring on restoration projects. Water quality and quantity parameters include water temperature, turbidity, stream flow, and groundwater elevation. Greenhouse gases are another parameter that Plumas Corporation staff is learning to monitor on meadow restoration projects.
Research and studies on project effects can be found on the Publications page and through reports on the interactive project map on the Our Work page.
Baseflow monitoring is accomplished through direct stream measurements taken monthly that are correlated to continuous recording flow stations strategically located above and below project areas.
The following graph demonstrates the baseflow augmentation realized after implementation of the Big Flat Meadow Re-watering Project (1995) and Modification (2004). In 2006 the stream baseflow below the project increased and was extended a month longer than incoming flows above the project.
Wells and/or piezometers are typically installed in project areas to monitor groundwater elevations and storage. Measurements are usually taken monthly beginning in early spring (pending site access) through the fall. The following graphs illustrate changes in groundwater elevations and seasonal water retention that have been documented after project restoration has occurred.
Water temperatures are measured on project areas through seasonal installation of water temperature data loggers placed above and below project areas to track restoration effects on water temperature. Permanent continuous recording devices strategically placed in a watershed for streamflow or other metrics should also collect water/air temperatures. Permanent stations can capture the cumulative effects from restoration efforts watershed-wide on water temperatures.
Turbidity is a measure of water clarity and how much material suspended in the water decreases the passage of light through the water. Turbidity can loosely be used as surrogate for total sediment changes related to a restoration project, particularly when paired with suspended sediment sampling. Turbidity can be easily and reliably collected and tested in portable turbimeters. For project effectiveness, turbidity is measured above and below restored project sites by taking grab samples during high flow events.
Fish and Wildlife
Fish and wildlife monitoring on Plumas Corporation restoration projects has been accomplished through the development of various partnerships and volunteer efforts. A variety of methods and protocols have been used to monitor fish and wildlife species and their habitats. Monitoring results from fish and wildlife studies have demonstrated some of the greatest on-site project improvements resulting from watershed restoration efforts.
In response to climate change and determining ecosystem services provided by meadow restoration, Plumas Corporation with assistance from University of Nevada, Reno and local soil and botanical consultants, developed a sampling method for measuring carbon stocks in meadow systems. Currently we are working with the Sierra Meadow Restoration Research Partnership to conduct further studies on meadow restoration and its effect on greenhouse gases and soil carbon.
47 Trilogy Lane, PO Box 3880, Quincy, CA 95971