Gunnison Basin Climate Change Adaptation and Wetland Restoration Monitoring
A study led by CSU researcher Renée Rondeau has found that strategically placing rocks in the wet meadows of Gunnison’s sagebrush hills slows water, reconnects the floodplain and increases wetland plant cover by 40%, despite unprecedented drought in the West. This technique benefits ranchers and the Gunnison sage grouse, which is federally listed as a threatened species.
Results published in the Journal of Restoration Ecology show that low-tech restoration structures were effective at rewetting intermittent streams and wet meadows within the arid landscape, even though six of the nine monitored years were considered drought years. Non-native invasive weeds declined, while forbs and grasses important to sage grouse and livestock operations increased.