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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. null (Ed.)
    Phosphorus (P) loss from cropland to ground and surface waters is a global concern. In cold climates (CCs), freeze–thaw cycles, snowmelt runoff events, and seasonally wet soils increase P loss potential while limiting P removal effectiveness of riparian buffer zones (RBZs) and other practices. While RBZs can help reduce particulate P transfer to streams, attenuation of dissolved P forms is more challenging. Moreover, P transport studies often focus on either cropland or RBZs exclusively rather than spanning the natural cropland–RBZ–stream gradient, defined here as the cropland–RBZ–stream continuum. Watershed P transport models and agronomic P site indices are commonly used to identify critical source areas; however, RBZ effects on P transport are usually not included. In addition, the coarse resolution of watershed P models may not capture finer-scale soil factors affecting P mobilization. It is clear that site microtopography and hydrology are closely linked and important drivers of P release and transport in overland flow. Combining light detection and ranging (LiDAR) based digital elevation models with P site indices and process-based models show promise for mapping and modeling P transport risk in cropland-RBZ areas; however, a better mechanistic understanding of processes controlling mobile P species across regions is needed. Broader predictive approaches integrating soil hydro-biogeochemical processes with real-time hydroclimatic data and risk assessment tools also hold promise for improving P transport risk assessment in CCs. 
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  3. Abstract

    River systems in the mountain western USA have been shaped by the presence of beavers for millennia. However, beavers have been extirpated from the landscape in many places, leading to excessive stream incision and streambank erosion. One common strategy to mitigate this issue is to deploy beaver dam analogue (BDAs) as a stream restoration technique. Although BDAs are intended to reduce erosion and stream incision, few studies directly document the impact of BDAs on stream channel geomorphology. This study, therefore, assesses how a complex of five BDAs along a 150 m long stream reach in Red Canyon Ranch near Lander, WY impacts stream bank erosion and deposition and channel evolution over a 1‐year period post‐installation. Relative to control locations not impacted by BDAs, the BDA reach showed greater spatial heterogeneity in erosion and deposition patterns than control locations, as well as less overall erosion. However, each BDA had unique effects on channel morphology. Large amounts of deposition were found at the most upstream BDA remaining after the first year at both inner and outer meander locations. High flow events created breaches that likely produced significant stream bank erosion observed immediately downstream of the BDA complex. From a design standpoint, the only BDAs that remained after a year were those built around fence posts inserted into the stream bed with a percussion fence post driver. Overall, our short‐term data indicate that BDAs can be successfully used as a stream restoration practice to reduce stream bank erosion and increase channel geomorphological heterogeneity.

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  4. Abstract

    Beaver dam analogs (BDAs) are a stream restoration technique that is rapidly gaining popularity in the western United States. These low‐cost, stream‐spanning structures, designed after natural beaver dams, are being installed to confer the ecologic, hydrologic, and geomorphic benefits of beaver dams in streams that are often too degraded to provide suitable beaver habitat. BDAs are intended to slow streamflow, reduce the erosive power of the stream, and promote aggradation, making them attractive restoration tools in incised channels. Despite increasing adoption of BDAs, few studies to date have monitored the impacts of BDAs on channel form. Here, we examine the geomorphic changes that occurred within the first year of restoration efforts in Wyoming using high‐resolution visible light orthomosaics and elevation data collected with unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs). By leveraging the advantages of rapidly acquired images from UAV surveys with recent advancements in structure‐from‐motion photogrammetry, we constructed centimeter‐scale digital elevation models (DEMs) of the restoration reach and an upstream control reach. Through DEM differencing, we identified areas of enhanced erosion and deposition near the BDAs, suggesting BDA installation initiated a unique geomorphic response in the channel. Both reaches were characterized by net erosion during the first year of restoration efforts. While erosion around the BDAs may seem counter to the long‐term goal of BDA‐induced aggradation, short‐term net erosion is consistent with high precipitation during the study and with theoretical channel evolution models of beaver‐related stream restoration that predict initial channel widening and erosion before net deposition. To better understand the impacts of BDAs on channel morphology and restoration efforts in the western United States, it is imperative that we consistently assess the effects of beaver‐inspired restoration projects across a range of hydrologic and geomorphic settings and that we continue this monitoring in the future.

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  5. Abstract

    Beaver dam analogues (BDAs) are a cost‐effective stream restoration approach that leverages the recognized environmental benefits of natural beaver dams on channel stability and local hydrology. Although natural beaver dams are known to exert considerable influence on the hydrologic conditions of a stream system by mediating geomorphic processes, nutrient cycling, and groundwater–surface water interactions, the impacts of beaver‐derived restoration methods on groundwater–surface water exchange are poorly characterized. To address this deficit, we monitored hyporheic exchange fluxes and streambed porewater biogeochemistry across a sequence of BDAs installed along a central Wyoming stream during the summer of 2019. Streambed fluxes were quantified by heat tracing methods and vertical hydraulic gradients. Biogeochemical activity was evaluated using major ion porewater chemistry and principal component analysis. Vertical fluxes of approximately 1.0 m/day were observed around the BDAs, as was the development of spatially heterogeneous zones of nitrate production, groundwater upwelling, and anaerobic reduction. Strong contrasts in hyporheic zone processes were observed across BDAs of differing sizes. This suggests that structures may function with size‐dependent behaviour, only altering groundwater–surface water interactions after a threshold hydraulic step height is exceeded. Patterns of hyporheic exchange and biogeochemical cycling around the studied BDAs resemble those around natural beaver dams, suggesting that BDAs may provide comparable benefits to channel complexity and near‐stream function over a 1‐year period.

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