Evaluating ecosystem function in urban stream restoration.
Audia, Suzanne*,1, Gamon, John1, 1 California State University, Los Angeles, California
ABSTRACT- Urban areas such as Los Angeles face challenges in restoring degraded urban streams and surrounding riparian areas, since multiple interests and goals must be considered in addition to ecological function. When restoring an urban stream as mitigation for the destruction of a natural riparian region, it is important to consider whether the restored stream functions comparably to the natural stream that was removed. This study examines a specific example of a restored urban stream (lower Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, CA) as mitigation for the loss of a natural stream canyon (Sunshine Canyon Landfill). The restoration was considered successful due to the initial survival and growth of vegetation along with improved aesthetics and recreational opportunities in a degraded urban corridor. Consequently, this mitigation project has been declared a model to be replicated elsewhere in the Los Angeles region. However, our initial findings have found a decrease in the survival of the vegetation after the five year monitoring period, indicating this may not be a sustainable plan. Criteria for successful mitigation should include more indicators of ecosystem function such as long term sustainability of the community, enhancement of water quality, and wildlife usage. We propose that urban stream restoration should be coupled with long-term monitoring that evaluates these criteria.
Key words: restoration, riparian, wildlife, urban
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