Water Resources Professional Project Reports

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Riparian areas perform functions which in turn provide economic and environmental benefits. Many of the riparian areas in the Southwest are in degraded states. There is a need to determine the health of these ecosystems, in order to decide which need rehabilitation or restoration. Long term monitoring is necessary to assure projects are progressing towards goals, and prevent further degradation in response to new disturbances. Two riparian assessment surveys currently in use are the Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) and the New Mexico Watershed Watch Riparian Survey (NMWWRS). The PFC tool is a qualitative method utilized by government agencies such as the BLM and the Forest Service. The NMWWRS combines quantitative and qualitative measurements and is currently used by students and community members. The surveys are used to gather information regarding vegetation and geomorphology. The NMWWRS also includes parameters for stream flow and macroinvertebrates. This study compares the author's results of these two surveys as well as the results for the PFC method as determined by BLM and Forest Service riparian specialists on 15 stream reaches in New Mexico. The evaluations using the two methods resulted in similar ratings for all 15 reaches. The BLM and Forest Service PFC ratings were on average a category higher (of three categories possible) for the Forest Service sites and one to two categories higher for the BLM sites, as compared to the author's ratings.

Language (ISO)



Riparian areas--Research--New Mexico., Riparian areas--New Mexico--Management., Riparian ecology--New Mexico., Riparian restoration--New Mexico--Planning.


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources Water Resources Program The University of New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico. November, 2000.