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«      May 19, 2016 CRAM FOR EPISODIC STREAMS NOW AVAILABLE This module of the California Rapid Assessment Method for episodic streams has been ...»

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May 19, 2016

CRAM FOR EPISODIC STREAMS NOW AVAILABLE

This module of the California Rapid Assessment Method for episodic streams has

been produced for the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW) under

leadership from the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project

(SCCWRP). The CWMW recommends this module for assessing the condition of

episodic streams in appropriate areas of California, primarily in areas with arid

climates. It may now be downloaded at the CRAM website: www.cramwetlands.org Like all CRAM modules, this method is being released after extensive field evaluations. These evaluations were conducted using the established procedures for producing new modules. It will be subject to ongoing modification and refinement based on additional field testing and subsequent validation.

We encourage CRAM practitioners who are familiar with episodic streams, desert ecosystems and arid-land hydrology to use the new module and report results or other feedback to the CWMW via the “Contact Us” section of the CRAM website, located at: http://www.cramwetlands.org/contact-us Practitioners should note that eCRAM for the episodic module is under development, but not yet available.

California Rapid Assessment Method Episodic Riverine User’s Manual and Field Book ver. 1.0 December 2015 FOREWORD This module of the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) has been developed to assess dryland episodic streams, herein termed the episodic riverine CRAM module (ver 1.0). Episodic streams are those that flow only in response to rainfall events and experience long periods of no measureable surface flow. This combined manual and field book are intended as a companion document to the User’s Manual of CRAM (ver. 6.1; CWMW 2013) and its accompanying field book for riverine wetlands (ver. 6.1), herein termed the standard riverine CRAM module. The episodic module of CRAM is intended to build upon, not replace, the standard riverine module.

The episodic riverine CRAM module is based on the fundamental assumptions and relationships between condition and function shared between all CRAM modules. Four universal attributes of condition are recognized: (1) Buffer and landscape context; (2) Hydrology; (3) Physical structure;

and (4) Biotic structure. However, the metrics comprising these attributes have been adapted to account for the unique characteristics of predominantly dryland episodic waterways.

This combined manual and field book provides the standard operating procedures for using CRAM to assess episodic waterways. The general procedure for applying the episodic module of CRAM consists of the same series of steps as described in the CRAM User’s Manual. This document does not attempt to duplicate this information, but only addresses significant deviations from established methods or provide supplemental information germane to the assessment of episodic stream condition. Users should refer to the CRAM User’s Manual for overarching key concepts, assumptions, and the developmental process of the CRAM method.

The data produced from appropriate application and use of this module results could be integrated into existing regulatory programs to provide improved evaluation of and compensation for impacts to episodic stream types, and underrepresented aquatic resource type in current state and federal monitoring programs. Appropriate application of this module by trained practitioners will help to facilitate a process for regulatory agencies and other entities to coordinate and share data, formulate best management practices, and agree upon mitigation and restoration priorities for episodic streams in California.

i

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF FIGURES

TABLE OF TABLES

TABLE OF WORKSHEETS

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION, STATEMENT OF NEED, GOALS, STRATEGIC

CONTEXT, INTENDED USES

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 STATEMENT OF NEED AND JUSTIFICATION

1.2 WHEN TO USE THIS MANUAL

1.3 GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE

CHAPTER 2: PROCEDURES FOR USING CRAM FOR EPISODIC STREAMS............... 5

2.0 SUMMARY

2.1 ASSEMBLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION

2.2 EPISODIC STREAM CLASSIFICATION

2.3 VERIFY THE APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENT WINDOW

2.4 ESTABLISH THE ASSESSMENT AREA

2.5 GENERAL SIZE CONSIDERATIONS FOR EPISODIC RIVERINE AAS

CHAPTER 3: DEFINITION AND RATIONALE FOR CRAM ATTRIBUTES AND

METRICS

3.0 SUMMARY

ATTRIBUTE 1: BUFFER AND LANDSCAPE CONTEXT

ATTRIBUTE 2: HYDROLOGY

ATTRIBUTE 3: PHYSICAL STRUCTURE

ATTRIBUTE 4: BIOTIC STRUCTURE

LITERATURE CITED

SUPPLEMENTAL REFERENCES

APPENDIX A: GUIDELINES TO COMPLETE THE STRESSOR CHECKLISTS......... 86 APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY

–  –  –

Funding for development of this manual was provided to the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project and the Central Coast Wetland Workgroup through USEPA Grant No. CDT73901-0. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.





iii

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1.1: Rainfall in California showing areas with less than 15 inches (38 cm) of average annual rainfall

Figure 2.1: Identifying channels, floodplain, and upland terraces to delineate the boundaries of an episodic stream for CRAM.

This example is for a compound channel form.

Figure 2.2: Flowchart to determine wetland type once a riverine wetland has been established.

Figure 2.3: Illustrations of riverine confinement and entrenchment for episodic channels.

(A) non-confined entrenched, (B) non-confined not entrenched, (C) confined not entrenched, and (D) confined. entrenched riverine sub-types.

Figure 2.4: Cross-section diagram of a typical single-thread channel form showing the lateral extent of the AA in relation to its hydrogeomorphic units.

The AA includes all portions and features of the active floodplain, but does not include upper terraces that are beyond the active floodplain and inundated only by extreme events under current conditions.

Figure 2.5: Cross-section diagram of a typical compound channel form showing the lateral extent of the AA in relation to its hydrogeomorphic units.

The AA includes all portions and features of the active floodplain, but does not include upper terraces that are beyond the active floodplain and inundated only by extreme events under current conditions.

Figure 3.1: Diagram of method to assess the Stream Corridor Continuity metric.

Using aerial imagery, the stream corridor is extended 500 m upstream and 500 m downstream of the AA (hashed yellow line extending from brown polygon). The red lines indicate the location of “non-buffer land covers” along the extended AA that break the stream corridor within this distance

Figure 3.2: Percent of AA with Buffer for Episodic Riverine AAs.

The blue line is the edge of the AA, the red line indicates where there is no buffer or less than 5 meters of buffer adjacent to the AA, while the green line indicates where buffer is present. The north side of the AA directly adjoins a nonbuffer development, and on the southeast side of the AA there is a fence less than 5 meters from the AA. In this example 45% of the AA has buffer...

Figure 3.3: Diagram of approach to estimate Average Buffer Width for Episodic Riverine AAs.

Continuing with the example from above, draw 8 lines evenly distributed within the buffer (red lines indicate where no buffer is

–  –  –

Figure 3.4: Diagram of method to assess Buffer Condition for Riverine AAs.

Continuing with the example from above, this submetric assesses the condition of the buffer only where it was found to be present in the two previous steps (the shaded areas shown).

Figure 3.5: Diagram of approach to assess water sources affecting a CRAM AA showing an oblique view of the watershed.

After identifying the portion of the aerial imagery that constitutes the contributing watershed region for the AA, assess the condition of the water source in a 2 km region (represented by yellow lines) upstream of the AA (represented with green box)…….

Figure 3.6: Scale-independent schematic profiles of Topographic Complexity.

Each profile A-D represents a characteristic cross-section through an AA. Use in conjunction with Table 16 to score this metric.

Figure 3.7: Flow Chart to Determine Plant Community Submetrics

Figure 3.8: Schematic diagrams illustrating varying degrees of interspersion of plant zones for compound episodic channels.

Each plant zone must comprise at least 5% of the AA. The pink area represents the boundary of an AA, other colors represents a unique plant zone or feature, the light green background represents upland areas that are part of the buffer and not included in the AA. Dotted lines represent the locations of distinct lowflow and secondary channels within the AA.

Figure 3.9: Stylized diagrams of example scenarios that illustrate the concept of vertical overlap of plant layers for Episodic CRAM Riverine AAs.

Additional combinations of layer overlap may exist

–  –  –

Table 2.2: Guidelines for identifying features that should be used to establish riverine AA boundaries

Table 2.3: Steps to establish riverine AAs on low relief alluvial fan surfaces

Table 2.4: General size guidelines for delineating AAs in episodic streams.

Table 3.1: Steps to assess Corridor Continuity

Table 3.2: Rating for Stream Corridor Continuity.

Table 3.3: Guidelines for identifying buffers and breaks in buffers.

Table 3.4: Rating for Percent of AA with Buffer.

Table 3.5: Steps to estimate Buffer Width for riverine systems

Table 3.6: Rating for average buffer width.

Table 3.7: Rating for Buffer Condition

Table 3.8: Rating for Water Source

Table 3.9a: Field Indicators of Altered Sediment Transport for upper watershed (typically single thread) streams.

Table 3.9b: Field Indicators of Altered Sediment Transport for Lower watershed (typically multi-thread) streams.

Table 3.10: Rating table for Sediment Transport

Table 3.11 Rating of Hydrologic Connectivity for Episodic Channels

Table 3.12: Rating of Structural Patch Richness

Table 3.13: Rating of Topographic Complexity for Episodic Channels

Table 3.14: Plant layer heights for all Episodic Riverine Systems.

Table 3.15: Ratings for submetrics of Plant Community Metric.

Table 3.16: Rating of Horizontal Interspersion for Riverine AAs.

Table 3.17: Rating of Vertical Biotic Structure for Episodic Riverine AAs

–  –  –

Worksheet 3.2: Percent of AA with Buffer

Worksheet 3.5: AA Topographic Complexity

Worksheet 3.6: Plant Community Metric: Co-dominant species richness for Riverine wetlands

Worksheet 3.7: Horizontal Interspersion

Worksheet A.1: Wetland disturbances and conversions

Worksheet A.2: Stressor Checklist

vii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION, STATEMENT OF NEED,

GOALS, STRATEGIC CONTEXT, INTENDED USES

1.0 Introduction Episodic waterways are streams and rivers that exhibit short-duration, highly localized, and extremely variable (flashy) flow in response to extreme rainfall events. When not underlain by bedrock or other impervious materials, episodic streams experience rapid infiltration of surface flow into the substrate which results in rapidly decreasing flow to downstream areas. The physical features and biological communities of these systems reflect the fact that surface water occurs at low frequency and typically does not persist, and that substrates are often dry (i.e., not saturated). In some cases, the substrate is renewed abruptly and at intervals shorter than what is typically needed for a climax riparian plant community to develop (Hecht 1993).

Chapter 1 of this manual presents the rationale for developing this module, including why it’s needed, and its primary goal, strategic context, intended uses, and the geographic scope of its applicability. Chapter 2 covers key terms, the conceptual framework for assessment of episodic channels with CRAM, and its development process. Chapter 3 describes the timing to conduct assessments for episodic CRAM. Chapter 4 provides background information and rationale for each of the metrics and attributes. Chapter 5 describes the guidelines to completing the stressor checklist.

This module has been developed with oversight and guidance provided by the statewide Level 2 Committee of the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW), which is charged with the oversight of Level 2 methodologies, including CRAM.



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