Response of montane meadow vegetation after two years of streamflow augmentation

  • Published source details Henszey R.J., Skinner Q.D. & Wesche T.A. (1991) Response of montane meadow vegetation after two years of streamflow augmentation. Regulated Rivers-Research & Management, 6, 29-38.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Actively manage water level: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Actively manage water level: freshwater marshes

    A study in 1985–1987 of 18 riparian moist/wet meadows along one stream in Wyoming, USA (Henszey et al. 1991) found that the effect of augmenting streamflow on vegetation abundance depended on meadow wetness, plant species and abundance metric. For example, over the second year of augmented streamflow, above-ground vascular plant biomass significantly increased at two of three moisture levels (from 412–433 g/m2 to 517–532 g/m2), whilst vascular plant cover significantly declined at two of three moisture levels (from 22–23% to 15%). The study also reported data on the abundance of individual plant species (see original paper). For example, biomass of the dominant sedges Carex spp. increased significantly in two of three comparisons (from 262–337 g/m2 to 386–456 g/m2) with a similar trend in the other (from 379 to 452 g/m2). Moss cover did not significantly change in two of three comparisons (from 3–27% to 8–24%) but declined in the other (from 29% to 4%). Methods: From August 1985, additional water was released into a previously ephemeral stream, increasing the flow and raising the water table in streamside meadows. Vegetation abundance was surveyed in 18 meadows (six moist, six moist-wet, six wet). Biomass was dried before weighing. Surveys took place in August–October 1985–1987, starting shortly after streamflow augmentation began. Large grazing mammals were excluded from some of the surveyed meadows.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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