Soil and Water Characteristics in Restored Canebrake and Forest Riparian Zones


  • Paper No. JAWRA-10-0075-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA).



Andrews, Danielle M., Christopher D. Barton, Randall K. Kolka, Charles C. Rhoades, and Adam J. Dattilo, 2011. Soil and Water Characteristics in Restored Canebrake and Forest Riparian Zones. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 47(4):772-784. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00555.x

Abstract:  The degradation of streams has been widespread in the United States. In Kentucky, for instance, almost all of its large streams have been impounded or channelized. A restoration project was initiated in a channelized section of Wilson Creek (Nelson Co., Kentucky) to return its predisturbance meandering configuration. A goal of the project was to restore the native riparian corridor with giant cane and bottomland forest species. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of giant cane in riparian restoration and to compare water quality and soil attributes between restored cane and forested communities. Comparison of data to replicated sites of similar size in undisturbed upstream areas (control) was also examined to evaluate restoration success. Vegetation establishment was initially hindered by frequent flooding in 2004, but mean survival was good after two growing seasons with rates of 80 and 61% for forest and cane plots, respectively. Results showed an improvement in stream water quality due to restoration activities. Significant differences between the cane and forested plots in shallow groundwater dissolved oxygen, NO3-N, NH4+-N, and Mn concentrations suggest that soil redox conditions were not similar between the two vegetation types. Retention and transformation of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) within the restored riparian system also differed by vegetation treatment; however, both communities appeared to be advancing toward conditions exhibited in the control section of Wilson Creek.