2016 NGWA Groundwater Summit

Extended Learning Session: Riparian Systems: Are they a keystone unit within watershed ecosystems?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016: 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Confluence Ballroom A (The Westin Denver Downtown)
Riparian systems are amazingly complex and yet not typically well understood with regard to their many roles and influences within the landscape. Riparian areas provide the link between the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and set the stage for interactions at multiple scales that can potentially alter physical, chemical and biological conditions across the landscape and in multiple dimensions. A truly interdisciplinary subject area, working in riparian areas requires a combined knowledge of, amongst other things, geomorphology, hydrology, surface water-groundwater interactions, spatial/temporal dynamics, biophysical processes, ecological functions and structure, as well as their relationship and impact with the human dimension and socioeconomic considerations.  Understanding and managing these unique areas carries implications for both ecological and environmental objectives as well as factoring in the role of natural versus anthropogenic influences and disturbances.

This extended learning session will provide an overview of riparian systems and their dynamic role in the landscape to describe how and why riparian systems could be considered the keystone unit of a watershed ecosystem.  Concepts to be covered will focus primarily on the physical aspects of these systems and include influences of geomorphology, hydrology, structure and diversity, and multi-dimensional biophysical connections across riparian zones and associated surface and groundwater systems. The session will also briefly discuss various factors involved in management of riparian systems to provide insight to the overall complexity involved in translating scientific data to management goals to funding to public value and support.

Dawn Gibas, PhD, PSS (MN), CPSS
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