Not all breaks are equal: Variable hydrologic and geomorphic responses to intentional levee breaches along the lower Cosumnes River, California

The transport of water and sediment from rivers to adjacent floodplains helps generate complex floodplain, wetland, and riparian ecosystems. However, riverside levees restrict lateral connectivity of water and sediment during flood pulses, making the re-introduction of floodplain hydrogeomorphic...

Cosumnes Research Group

The Cosumnes River is the only free-flowing river on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, and because of its natural flow regime it has become the centerpiece for decades-long research on the benefit of floodplain reconnection for the purposes of ecological restoration and preservation of ecosystem services, such as local groundwater recharge, flood wave attenuation, and temporal spawning habitat for native fishes, such as splittail, and rearing habitat for juvenile anadromous salmonids, such as chinook salmon.

Why Climate Change Makes Riparian Restoration More Important than Ever: Recommendations for Practice and Research

Over the next century, climate change will dramatically alter natural resource management. Specifically, historical reference conditions may no longer serve as benchmarks for restoration, which may foster a “why bother?” attitude toward ecological restoration. We review the potential role for...

Riparian bird response to vegetation structure: a multiscale analysis using LiDAR measurements of canopy height

The ability to measure vegetation structure at spatial scales that are biologically meaningful for wildlife is often limited because information about the spatial scale of habitat selection is lacking and there are logistical constraints to measuring vegetation structure at ever larger spatial...

Floodplain Heterogeneity Drives Riparian Vegetation Composition and Structure Through Channel Meander Migration and Channel Abandonment

Riparian vegetation composition and structure reflect the legacy of fine- and coarse-scale patterns of hydrology, geomorphology and ecology. Understanding the dynamics of complex systems requires scaling-up mechanistic patterns and processes. Coupling hydro-geomorphic processes with vegetation...

Perennial pepperweed invasion on a restored seasonal floodplain

The science of restoration ecology emphasizes the importance of managing, and often manipulating, both physical and biotic factors to facilitate ecosystem recovery. Among many other factors, our investigation of successful riparian floodplain restoration has focused on the positive impact of...

Restoring floodplains and riparian forest: Lessons from the Cosumnes River

Naturally-functioning floodplains provide a variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for diverse species.  California’s rivers are highly altered, with levees that disconnect floodplains, dams that alter flows, and land use practices that have destroyed most than 90  percent of riparian...

Significance of Riparian Plants in the Epidemiology of Pierce's Disease

We examined the relationship between the occurrence of Pierce’s disease (PD) in Napa Valley vineyards and both adjacent and distant vegetation types.  Because the vector, Graphocephala atropunctata (blue-green sharpshooter, BGSS), is mobile and has a broad host range, disease risk is influenced...

Characterizing Hydrologic Variability of the Cosumnes River Floodplain

Natural riverine and floodplain ecosystems are adapted to highly variable hydrologic regimes, which include periodic droughts, infrequent large floods, and relatively frequent periods of inundation. To more effectively manage water resources and maintain ecosystem services provided by rivers and...

Perennial Pepperweed Infestation on the Cosumnes River Experimental Floodplain A Report to the California Bay-Delta Authority

Riparian floodplains present a unique challenge for restoration management, in that these are, by definition, dynamic, constantly changing ecosystems. As restoration projects are initiated and progress through time, both native and invasive species can become established. During the initial...

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