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Management of large wood in streams of Colorado's Front Range: a risk analysis based on physical, biological, and social factors




Wohl, Ellen, author
Bestgen, Kevin, author
Bledsoe, Brian, author
Fausch, Kurt, author
Gooseff, Mike, author
Kramer, Natalie, author

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Instream and floodplain wood can provide many benefits to river ecosystems, but can also create risks to inhabitants, infrastructure, property, and recreational users in the river corridor. In this report we outline a decision process for managing large wood, and particularly for assessing the relative benefits and risks associated with individual wood pieces and with accumulations of wood. This process can be applied at varying levels of effort, from a relatively cursory visual assessment to more detailed numerical modeling. Decisions of whether to retain, remove, or modify wood in a channel or on a floodplain are highly dependent on the specific context: the same piece of wood might require removal in a highly urbanized setting, for example, but provide sufficient benefits to justify retention in a natural area. Our intent is that the decision process outlined here can be used by individuals with diverse technical backgrounds and in a range of urban to natural river reaches.


March 2017.

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large wood
Front Range rivers
environmental benefits
recreational users


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