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Symposia

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Northwest Forest Plan: Key Findings from the 20 Year Monitoring Reports
Using Forest Restoration and All-Lands Management to Enhance Ecosystem Services
Frontiers in Restoration: Complexity and Caution in Land Management
Watershed Restoration: Bringing Together the Socio-Nature of Practice and Research
Using Geoecological Zones to Restore Vegetation and Soils at the Project and Landscape Level
Management Impacts on Soil Organic Carbon, Hydrology and Biotic Communities
Regulated Rivers and Restoration: A Look at Restoration Techniques and Monitoring Efforts
The Evolving Science of Bioindicators
Tidal Marsh and Estuary Restoration Monitoring: How Can We Best Meet our Ecological Objectives?
Counting Acres, Trees, and Homeless Camps: Overcoming the Unique Challenges of Monitoring Restoration Progress along the Urban-Rural Gradient
Using Biochar to Restore Properties and Functions in Forest, Range, or Mine Soils
Monitoring Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration in the Southern Blue Mountains
Streambank Erosion Evaluation and Monitoring
Lessons Learned from Long-Term and Large-Scale Monitoring Efforts in PNW Prairies

Northwest Forest Plan: Key Findings from the 20 Year Monitoring Reports

Principle Organizer: Becky Granvenmeier, Science/Climate Change Pacific Northwest Research Station

In 1994, the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) Record of Decision amended and provided direction to 19 national forest and 7 Bureau of Land Management resource plans within the range of the northern spotted owl with the goal of maintaining healthy forest ecosystems alongside sustainable, predictable supplies of timber and other forest products. Since that time, an interagency monitoring framework has been used to track the status and trend of watershed condition, late-successional and old-growth forests, socioeconomic conditions, tribal relationships, and population and habitat for marbled murrelets and northern spotted owls—all to help answer questions about the plan’s effectiveness. A full day symposium will present key summaries of the results for the late-successional and old growth forests modules, as well as status and trends for watersheds, northern spotted owl and marbled murrelets, socio-economic and effectiveness of tribal relationships. An interagency panel will present results of the monitoring modules, methods, and a set of recommendations for monitoring into the future. The reports, which have undergone technical and peer review were released in draft form in 2015, and are to be published by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and Pacific Northwest Region and a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

 

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Using Forest Restoration and All-Lands Management to Enhance Ecosystem Services

Organizer and Moderator: Robert Deal, USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station

Recently the US Forest Service has adopted an “All-lands management” (ALM) approach to address landscape-scale natural resource disturbances and restoration across jurisdictional boundaries and to consider multiple landowners and stakeholders. Projects using the ALM approach have addressed, fire and fuels management, fish and wildlife conservation, watershed health improvements, and invasive species control, among others. ALM projects in mixed-ownership landscapes typically involve collaboration involving diverse sets of landowners and stakeholders. Forest collaborative groups also play an important role in facilitating agreement towards ALM. Collaboration around natural resource management, and the engagement of science in collaboration have, 1) increased practitioner and scientist knowledge about fire prone landscapes and restoration activities related to reducing fire risk, 2) linked watershed restoration activities with financial mechanisms for accomplishing restoration work, 3) led to “zones of agreement” amongst diverse stakeholders for forest restoration, and 4) increased understanding and awareness of the role of ecosystem services in the long-term health of forest ecosystems and communities.This session will provide a number of examples of restoration activities involved with forest landscapes and watersheds in the Pacific Northwest and the role of ecosystem services and markets to help maintain and restore these forest ecosystems.

 

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Frontiers in Restoration: Complexity and Caution in Land Management

Organizer and Moderator: Toby Query, Ecologist, City of Portland, Watershed Revegetation Program

Managing land for the interests of conservation and restoration is complex. Many projects have the explicit goal of reducing noxious weed cover and increasing native plant cover, but there can be unforeseen and possibly detrimental impacts on the larger biotic community if monitoring feedbacks aren’t in place. A treatment that benefits one species might be damaging another and there are often complex biotic and abiotic interactions that lead to unforeseen outcomes. In this symposium we hope to shed light on the complexity of managing land and choosing interventions that fit with our goals. Are we improving our land, or inadvertently damaging aspects of our ecosystem with our interventions? This session will illustrate these concepts while examining the effects of introduced species on native plants and common native amphibians, effects of terrestrial mollusks and earthworms on restoration understories, and the potential for creating ecological traps and demographic sinks in restoration as illustrated in prairie restoration with a rare endemic butterfly.

 

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Watershed Restoration: Bringing Together the Socio-Nature of Practice and Research

Organizer: Sarah Kidd, School of the Environment, Portland State University, with Marissa Matsler, Ashlie Denton, Zbigniew Graboswski

Academics have been critical of watershed restoration practices that focus on biophysical interventions lacking consistent monitoring programs for societal and ecological outcomes. To address these critiques, there is an urgent need to facilitate communication between academics, restoration practitioners, and ecological managers to create a more productive conversation around what defines the restoration process and success. Geomorphologically and ecologically grounded mechanistic frameworks tend to guide restoration practice and debate. However, these frameworks often lack acknowledgement of their dependency on, at times conflicting, disciplinary beliefs about ecological change, as well as, societal, technological, and financial contexts and practicalities. From ongoing interviews with the restoration community, reviews of relevant literatures, investigation of restoration economies, and their ecological and historical underpinnings, this panel sketches out a socio-nature view of ecology and underpinning of watershed restoration theorization and practice in the Pacific Northwest. We sketch out a conceptual model of a ‘productive imaginary,’ incorporating interdependent financial, ecological, social, and technological systems (FESTS) to facilitate inter-disciplinary dialogue and highlight opportunities for collaborative restoration research and practice, and to integrate current best practices and available knowledge into ongoing restoration, management, and research programs.

 

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Using Geoecological Zones to Restore Vegetation and Soils at the Project and Landscape Level

Principal organizer and moderator: Karen Bennett, United States Forest Service Region 6 Soil Scientist, with Vince Archer, USFS Region 1 Soil Scientist and Mark Kimsey, USDA Cooperative Extension, University of Idaho

The objective of this symposium is to present the latest in multi-scale landscape restoration and monitoring paradigms. Paradigms will be contextualized within real world conservation planning examples. In particular, we will focus on research and monitoring activities that link plant community diversity and productivity to edaphic and physiographic controls and discuss how perturbation through management and climate change impact these relationships. Emphasis throughout each presentation will focus on how regional natural resource managers can use this information to assess current management practices and where opportunities exist to inform and improve resource management planning.

 

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Management Impacts on Soil Organic Carbon, Hydrology and Biotic Communities

Organizer and moderator: Vince Archer, United States Forest Service Region 1 Soil Scientist, with Karen Bennet and Mark Kimsey

Restorationists must understand the context of how land management perturbs the soil environment regardless of intent or practice. The goal is to perturb soils in a way that promotes resilient ecosystems given knowledge of current and potential future conditions. Symposium objectives are to present methods for quantifying management impacts on the soil physical, chemical, hydrologic and biotic environment. Practical management guidelines will be offered to inform restoration strategies that promote soil health and ecosystem resilience. The session will present findings from the Long-Term Soil Productivity research sites, mycorrhizal fungi benefits and responses to management, the importance of soil carbon on the National Forest Plan, and forest management effects on stream flow and soil quality.

 

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Regulated Rivers and Restoration: A Look at Restoration Techniques and Monitoring Efforts

Moderators: Carrie Nadeau, Senior Ecologist, Associated Environmental Consultants Inc. Consultants, Inc., David Polster, Senior Vegetation Ecologist, Polster Environmental Services , Ltd.

This symposium will include and introduce existing restoration and monitoring programs and methods to achieve self-sustaining ecosystems within drawdown zones within large reservoirs in North America.  History of water use management, the importance of functioning ecosystems and how vegetation establishment is impacted by fluctuating water levels for power production will be described.  Understanding the ecology of reservoirs, and vegetation recovery processes acting within these altered ecosystems can provide a suite of solutions for restoration. The establishment of these recovery processes will be described by identifying potential constraints which limit the recovery of vegetation within reservoir drawdown zones. Understanding how natural recovery processes address potential constraints and using these recovery processes in restoration methods to over-come some key constraints will be presented. Natural recovery process concept application can foster vegetation growth and encourage natural succession within these hostile drawdown zone environments. The status and results of current 10 –Year revegetation and monitoring programs (as funded by the BC Hydro and Power Authority), including a recent Pilot Project applying the Natural Recovery Process concept, will be described in this symposium.

 

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The Evolving Science of Bioindicators

Organizer: Dr. David Sabaj-Stahl; The Edwin James Society

Bioindicator research has evolved concurrent with the expansion of work concerning ecological restoration and application of biochemical techniques for environmental assessment. Traditionally, bioindicators were defined as a population or sub-population of a particular species that could be assayed to assess the environmental impacts of environmental toxins. Bioindicator approaches have evolved within the context of restoration efforts, increasingly entailing more than a particular population, and now include multiple taxa and multiple trophic assemblages. The bioindicator definition has also expanded to include an array of disturbances and associated restoration efforts. The symposium will explore via current research the manner by which bioindicator approaches have evolved to include diverse arrays of taxa, under diverse sets of circumstances. As ecologic disturbance often involves much more than toxic pollutants per se, it remains important to assess these disturbances via quantitative, comprehensive and efficacious protocols. Presentation of current research will elucidate how historical approaches to biomonitoring have evolved in order to adapt to the increased need to assess the structure and function of restored ecosystems. Symposium participants will synthesize this information and discuss the current status of bioindicator research, and potential means by which to expand and improve its application relative to ecologic restoration.

 

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Tidal Marsh and Estuary Restoration Monitoring: How Can We Best Meet our Ecological Objectives?

Organizer: Maureen Raad, Senior Associate, ESA Vigil-Agrimis

The number and size of voluntary restoration projects in the Pacific Northwest tidal marsh and estuary habitats will continue to increase with our improved understanding of the ecosystem services these systems provide. This symposium will share the findings from several monitoring efforts that have been conducted on reference and restoration sites over the past decade in Oregon covering well over 1,500 acres. Some are complex multi-year efforts including many indicators and metrics while other efforts are more targeted. The symposium intends to help attendees improve restoration strategies at a watershed- and site-scale and meet their desired ecological objectives. The presentations in this symposium will provide an overview of monitoring protocols, reference sites, pre- and post-construction monitoring, adaptive management and will touch on funding, and partnering strategies. Speakers will discuss the importance of monitoring controlling factors such as inundation.

 

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Counting Acres, Trees, and Homeless Camps: Overcoming the Unique Challenges of Monitoring Restoration Progress along the Urban-Rural Gradient

Principle Organizer: Oliver Bazinet, Strategic Planner, Seattle Parks & Recreation, with Michael Yadrick, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and Lisa Ceicko, Seattle Parks & Recreation

As residents of cities and towns across the region are acknowledging the value of and the threats to their closest green spaces, the demand for ecological restoration on public land is growing. Yet urban and suburban environments pose a number of unique challenges to restoration. Heavy and competing uses, intense exposure from adjacent properties, involved neighbors, unsanctioned activity, and city politics tends to complicate restoration planning and requires innovation when defining and measuring success. Large-scale restoration programs on public lands have been active in cities and suburban areas in the Pacific Northwest for more than 10 years. This symposium will provide a forum for professionals to discuss the complicated nature of monitoring and measuring progress in the urban and suburban contexts, showcase creative solutions to these problems, and seek feedback and recommendations from fellow practitioners and conference attendees. As urban and suburban public land restoration becomes more prevalent regionally and nationally, learning from past experiences through symposia such as this will essential to the development of best practices and standards in urban and suburban contexts.

 

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Using Biochar to Restore Properties and Functions in Forest, Range, or Mine Soils

Principal organizer and Moderator: Deborah S. Page-Dumroese, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Moscow Forestry Sciences Laboratory

Biochar has been used to amend soils leading to changes in water holding capacity, plant growth, nutrient cycling, greenhouse gas emissions, or uptake of environmental contaminants. However, there is a lack of information about forest soil impacts after biochar amendments and the effects on belowground processes. This session will highlight the belowground soil changes associated with biochar and other organic amendments on forest, range, and mine sites and include information about the management implications associated with these changes. We propose to highlight (1) the need and uses of creating biochar in forested ecosystems and (2) the subsequent belowground effects of biochar application to restore forest sites from past harvesting, over grazing, mining operations, or other major disturbances. Biochar is being created and used by numerous federal, state, private, and non-profit entities. Therefore it is critical to understand the impacts on soil properties and function before applying it to the soil.

 

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Monitoring Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration in the Southern Blue Mountains

Principal Organizers: James Johnston, Blue Mountains Forest Partners, and Mark Webb, Blue Mountains Forest Partners

In 2012, the Malheur National Forest launched a Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), a science-based ecosystem collaborative restoration program, to create resilient forest landscapes across approximately one million acres of Forest Service lands in the southern Blue Mountains. CFLRP funds are also being used to support a multi-party, interdisciplinary monitoring program to investigate the ecological and socio-economic effects of restoration treatments. The CFLRP Multi-Party Monitoring Program includes universities, agencies, and non-governmental organizations including the Malheur National Forest (MNF), Blue Mountains Forest Partners (BMFP), Oregon State University (OSU), University of Oregon Ecosystem Workforce Program (EWP), Forest Service Regional and Area Ecology Programs, and Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS). Presenters will share preliminary results from two years worth of monitoring biophysical and socio-economic systems in the southern Blue Mountains, explore the linkages between investments in ecological restoration and rural community economic development, provide insights into the design of an exemplary multi-party, interdisciplinary monitoring program, and share lessons about integrating monitoring results within an adaptive management framework.

 

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Streambank Erosion Evaluation and Monitoring

Principle Organizer: Frank Reckendorf, Fluvial Geomorphologist, Reckendorf and Associates

All stream restoration projects should consider streambank erosion  in analyses and project design.  Most streambank failures on gravel bed rivers are “Cantilever Failures” caused by stratigraphy. Many failures such as rotational and planer failures are based on materials strength and moisture content. Other failures, such as seepage forces and high pore pressure depend on water flowing out of the streambank. The many factors that modify failure mechanisms need to be reflected in evaluation and monitoring. Monitoring is by comparing photographs, cultural features, cross sections, bank pins or rating procedures.

Session presenters will review the many primary and secondary causes of streambank erosion, and will discuss methods for evaluating and monitoring streambanks, using examples to illustrate those methods giving the highest level of accuracy. During this half day symposium speakers will address streambank evaluation and monitoring on Wilson River OR; Lockwood Cr. WA; Grays River, WA; Quillayute River, WA; Springbrook Cr. OR; as well as BPA/EPA monitoring and evaluation of the impact of “Stream Barb” streambank protection procedures on aquatic habitat; and use of BEHI Rating Procedure for streambank evaluation.

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Lessons Learned from Long-Term and Large-Scale Monitoring Efforts in PNW Prairies

Organizers: Sarah Hamman and Peter Dunwiddie, Center for Natural Lands Management, and Jon Bakker, University of Washington

The rare plant and animal communities found in Pacific Northwest prairies have been a restoration and research focus for many organizations and agencies for just over two decades. While this is still a fairly young effort, the restoration strategies used to remove invasive species and restore native habitat have advanced and evolved in response to extensive gains in knowledge over the past twenty years. Long-term and large-scale monitoring of species populations, demographics and habitat provide big-picture patterns that can inform regulatory and management decisions. This session will focus on the lessons learned from several large-scale (across multiple sites) and long-term (over 4 years) monitoring efforts on prairie species and habitats, and monitoring techniques from other systems that can inform prairie projects. In addition to emerging patterns from these projects, presenters will discuss challenges and opportunities with project design and implementation, as these issues can influence the funding and labor needed for effective outcomes.

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