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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #292122

Title: Eco-hydrology considerations for enhancement of ecological site descriptions

item Williams, Christopher - Jason
item Pierson, Fred
item SPAETH, KENNETH - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)
item AL-HAMDAN, OSAMA - University Of Idaho
item Weltz, Mark
item BOLL, JAN - University Of Idaho

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2013
Publication Date: 7/21/2013
Citation: Williams, C.J., Pierson, F.B., Spaeth, K.E., Al-Hamdan, O.Z., Weltz, M.A., and Boll, J. 2013. Eco-hydrology considerations for enhancement of ecological site descriptions [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society 68th International Annual Conference, Resilient Landscapes: Planning for Food, Drought, and Fire, July 21-24, 2013, Reno, Nevada.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The ecologic resilience of rangeland landscapes is strongly related to eco-hydrologic structure-function feedbacks that regulate the retention or loss of water and soil resources. Rangeland management commonly aims to maintain rangeland communities that sustain long-term resilience. Restoration of degraded rangelands often targets recruitment of vegetation-soil factors that ultimately improve or stabilize desirable ecohydrologic feedbacks. Although these strategies are common tenants of rangeland management, eco-hydrologic relationships for reference and alternative states and transitions are often not adequately discussed within Ecological Site Descriptions (ESD’s). We propose that inclusion of eco-hydrologic relationships in ESD’s would enhance their utility for understanding site dynamics and making land management decisions. Our presentation uses specific examples from sagebrush steppe to describe foundational ecohydrologic principles that affect long-term ecological resilience. We discuss the hydrologic data that should be included in ESD’s and provide a potential framework for use of hydrologic-enhanced ESD’s in making land management decisions. Finally, we highlight how our proposed enhancements to ESD’s coordinate with other hydrologic-based land management tools, e.g. the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model (RHEM), to guide implementation of conservation practices on US rangelands.