Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB): River Ecosystem Responses to Floodplain Restoration

800 532 Stroud Water Research Center

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