QUANTIFYING BENEFITS OF A PLUG AND POND MEADOW RESTORATION IN MARIPOSA COUNTY, CA - STATUS AND PRELIMINARY MONITORING RESULTS.
Melissa C. Odell; Sierra Foothill Conservancy; P.O. Box 691, Mariposa, CA, 95338; (559) 341-6232; melissa@sierrafoothill.org; Amy Merrill, Joe R. Medley, Helen Loffland, Billy Freeman
Sierra Nevada meadows are hotspots of biodiversity. These meadows also play a critical role in the water system of California, providing 60 percent of the state's developed water supply. With a changing climate, restoring the function of meadow systems is critical; doing so is predicted to capture water, attenuate floods, and sustain summer stream flows, all while improving habitat for wildlife. In partnership with several organizations and grantors, Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC) has embarked upon a large-scale plug and pond restoration of Bean Creek Preserve, located in northern Mariposa County, California. Construction was completed in Fall 2016. In consort with the restoration, SFC is participating in the Sierra Meadow Restoration and Research Partnership (SMRRP), Point Blue Conservation Science's Rangeland Watershed Initiative, and collection of restoration co-benefit data. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has funded 3 years of post-restoration data collection, focusing on species-specific benefits (great gray owl, western pond turtle, willow flycatcher), ground water quantity, stream water quality, greenhouse gas pond flux, livestock forage and meadow grazing outreach with private landowners. Preliminary data will be presented, along with challenges, successes, future research plans, and current status of the re-watering of 40 acres of wet meadow habitat.
The Anthropocene: Recovery & Re-Wilding