One major challenge facing arid land riparian systems will be surviving in a world experiencing dwindling freshwater resources and droughts. In the American Southwest, hydrologic resources support native riparian forests that provide crucial habitat and provision wildlife communities. The structure of these communities is based on habitat physiognomy and microclimates that contrast with surrounding uplands. As hydrologic cycles become altered and native plant communities give way to non-native and invasive monocultures, ecologists predict that habitat will be lost, leading to shifts in terrestrial wildlife communities (Merritt and Bateman 2012). Many southwestern riparian-obligate species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds are designated as federally threatened or endangered due to habitat loss (USFWS 2014a; USFWS 2014b). In arid portions of Arizona, surface runoff, soil water, and groundwater recharge, are expected to decline under drought conditions (Ye and Grimm 2013). As water tables drop, native riparian vegetation become drought stressed and more drought-tolerant vegetation communities can become established, such as native mesquite (Prosopis spp.) bosques and non-native stands of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.).
|Effective start/end date||9/5/17 → 9/30/22|
- DOI: Bureau of Reclamation (USBR): $98,948.00