Project Overview

The Cosumnes Research Group examines the interaction and feedback pathways between physical processes, riparian vegetation and ecosystem communities in the Cosumnes River floodplain. Important paths of causality include the interactions among flood regimes, groundwater and its effects on riparian forests, as well as emerging linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Riparian forest productivity and structure provides a formative basis for aquatic and terrestrial productivity, including trophic dynamics expressed by birds and bats. The population structure and productivity of high-trophic status animals are generally treated as both criteria for restoration success in themselves, and as indicators of integrity of natural processes. While we do not attempt to exhaustively enumerate all of the causal links, our studies explore many of the dynamics presented as outcomes of restoration. As such, they provide qualitative and quantitative measures of restoration success, which can be used for management and implementation of similar restoration efforts.

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