Finalizing a Nevada Wetland Program Plan (WWP) and Assessing Biotic Integrity of the State's Priority Wetlands: Isolated Great Basin and Mojave Desert Springs

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DHS Sada, Donald W 11/10/2011 - 11/30/2014 Nevada Natural Heritage Program

Project Description

The goals of the project are to: 1-Create and submit a Nevada Wetland Program Plan (WPP) , 2-compile information to integrate groundwater hydrology, landscape associations, physicochemical characteristics of the aquatic system, and biology to develop a conceptual model of spring ecology, 3-determine biotic consequences of environmental stressors (e.g., livestock use, diversion, channelization, impoundment, water chemistry, scouring floods, drying, etc.), and 4-create a preliminary assessment of reference condition. Knowledge from goals 2 through 4 will serve as the basis for a more comprehensive WPP as well as create a framework to assess wetland condition. Few studies have quantified relationships between chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of arid land springs and there is insufficient information to create a conceptual model of these relationships, or determine reference condition and assess their biological integrity. We will provide insight into these relationships by compiling environmental and biological data in both the field and the laboratory at springs selected from no fewer than 150 sites in the Desert Research Institute (DRI) Springs Database that describes location and environmental characteristics of approximately 4000 springs. Novel assessment methods are necessary because processes affecting spring ecology differ from lotic and lentic systems, suggesting that processes influencing life in springs may trenchantly differ from those affecting other aquatic ecosystems. Goals will be accomplished through implementing five tasks: Task, Task 1-Assessment field work, Task 2-Assessment laboratory studies, Task 3-Assessment data analysis, Task 4-Assessment report preparation, and Task 5-1-WPP preparation.