After 25 years of litigation, ecological restoration is under way in the Upper Clark Fork River, Montana. The restoration includes removal of metal-laden floodplain soils, lowering of the floodplain to reconnect it with peak flows, and re-vegetation of over 70 kilometers of river riparian system. This LTREB project capitalizes on long-term monitoring data to address how river ecosystem structure and function respond to the simultaneous influences of changing nutrient abundance and large-scale floodplain restoration. Comparisons of past and future dynamics of the river provide an opportunity to address fundamental theories of ecology in response to a system manipulation of rare scope, and provide an empirical and theoretical framework for understanding effects of massive-scale floodplain manipulation that will be applicable to future river restoration projects.
Funded by: National Science Foundation
Principal Investigator: Marc Peipoch
Collaborators: Maurice Valett and Michael DeGrandpre (University of Montana); Rob Payn and Juliana D’Andrilli (Montana State University)
Project Year: 2018, 2019