Content submitted by: Denielle Perry, Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University’s Free-flowing Rivers Lab recently published two papers that examine the possibility of expanding protection and restoration efforts to meet riverine conservation needs within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
The first article by Major et al., Identifying Gaps in Protected Areas to Expand Integrated Riverine Ecosystem Conservation, uses the narrow-headed garter snake as an indicator species for ecosystem health of free-flowing perennial reaches within the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains EPA Level III ecoregion. Results suggest that over a quarter of Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI) reaches within the ecoregion are within the protection gap for the narrow-headed garter snake. If designated Wild and Scenic, these reaches could offer needed protection for this species. Learn more about protection gap analysis.
The second article by Guetz et al., Dam Removal Prioritization in the West: An Optimization Approach for River Restoration and Conservation, evaluates dams suitable for removal in the western U.S. in watersheds with existing conservation priorities. Results are critical for managers and policymakers to understand where dam removals could enhance overall riverine connectivity and where river restoration could result in subsequent protection of newly free-flowing river segments in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Learn more about dam prioritization.
Major, J., Aslan, C., McManamay, R., Perry, D. (2021) Identifying gaps in protected areas to expand integrated riverine ecosystem conservation. Conservation Science and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.470
Guetz, K*., Joyal, T., Dickson, B., Perry, D. (2021) Dam Removal Prioritization in the West: An Optimization Approach for River Restoration and Conservation. Restoration Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13583