Otis Bay designed a plan for enhancing the ecological function of the Walker River upstream of Schurz, NV. This section of river passes through Walker River Paiute Tribal Property in Nevada, where anthropogenic modification of the river channel has been relatively low. Because the natural channel is still intact along this stretch of river, Otis Bay’s hydrologic recommendations focused on maintenance of the channel’s current form and connectivity to the surrounding floodplain. Hydrology, groundwater, and vegetation abundance and composition were assessed to establish the current condition of the riparian corridor.
Sampling of this section of the Walker River included:
- Fine-scale field vegetation mapping using high-resolution orthoimagery
- Installation of piezometers and groundwater monitoring
- Hydraulic analysis using a LiDAR derived digital elevation model of the area
Management suggestions for the riparian corridor along this reach included enhancing riparian vegetation diversity and reducing grazing intensity. Emphasis was placed on using natural flow regimes to encourage dynamic channel characteristics and optimize conditions for establishment of less common riparian vegetation and wetland habitat. These actions will improve ecological function to benefit wildlife and improve ecosystem resilience.
Project was initiated in April 2013.