Reclamation Practices and Impacts of a Pipeline Corridor in Southern Arizona: Seeding and Vehicle Trampling Impact Vegetation Establishment: Construction Alters Short-term Ephemeral Channel Morphology Trends
AuthorFarrell, Hannah Lucia
AdvisorFehmi, Jeffrey S.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAnthropogenic disturbances are increasing in arid lands, as are expectations to successfully minimize impacts to natural resources and reclaim sites to publicly acceptable levels. This research explores the effectiveness of reclamation practices on a 60 mile natural gas pipeline constructed in September of 2014 that spans from west of Tucson to the border of Mexico. First, a controlled field experiment was conducted to assess the effects of seeding, grazing, and trampling (vehicular, cattle, and human foot traffic) on the reclaimed pipeline Right-Of-Way (ROW). Vegetation establishment (native plant cover; undesirable plant cover; species richness; herbaceous biomass), soil movement, and plant functional group community development was compared among the treatments. Reclaimed ROW areas left to recover without seeding resulted in similar vegetation cover, species, and community composition as undisturbed desert areas, although the presence of undesirable species was greater. The combined impacts of grazing and trampling resulted in reduced vegetation establishment and increased soil erosion. Second, the impacts of the pipeline construction on ephemeral wash channels were analyzed in terms of channel morphology and riparian vegetation changes. Channel cross section dimensions were measured upstream of the ROW, downstream of the ROW, and within the ROW before and after the 2015 Monsoon season to evaluate impacts on channel morphology and erosion processes. High resolution aerial imagery taken before and after pipeline construction was used to evaluate changes in riparian vegetation cover. Reduced herbaceous vegetation cover downstream of the ROW was detected, which may have been the result of increased channel scour within the ROW and increased sediment deposition downstream of the ROW. This research improves our understanding of and may aid in selection of appropriate reclamation practices.
Degree ProgramGraduate College