Abstract Title

Session S-02H: Integrating the Social and Natural Sciences for Decision Making

Proposed Abstract Title

Balancing Riparian Management and River Recreation in the Cedar River

Keywords

Social Science Plus

Location

Room 607

Start Date

30-4-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

30-4-2014 3:00 PM

Description

Riparian management in the Puget Sound lowland often includes placing large wood or retaining fallen logs to stabilize riverbanks and enhance salmon habitat. In addition to creating salmon habitat, this practice benefits humans by protecting infrastructure and natural resources, although it is unclear whether it may affect recreation users. We describe a project that scientifically estimated the number of river floaters, where they float in relationship to river projects and natural wood loading areas, the risks they take while floating, and their perceptions of large wood in the river. Selecting a high-use suburban river in Washington State, we used riverside observations, interviews, and an infrared counter to gather recreation data in the summer of 2010. Additionally, aerial photography was used to identify the locations of naturally recruited large wood. Statistical analyses provided general characteristics of users, trends in engaging in risky behaviors, and estimates of use for the entire season and on the busiest day. Data mapping with GIS presented both the the density wood and the density of recreation use along the river and frequency of use of specific float routes. Finally, qualitative analysis of interviews clarified the public’s opinion of large wood. We describe how this data was used in the 2011 to inform river management decisions.

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Apr 30th, 1:30 PM Apr 30th, 3:00 PM

Balancing Riparian Management and River Recreation in the Cedar River

Room 607

Riparian management in the Puget Sound lowland often includes placing large wood or retaining fallen logs to stabilize riverbanks and enhance salmon habitat. In addition to creating salmon habitat, this practice benefits humans by protecting infrastructure and natural resources, although it is unclear whether it may affect recreation users. We describe a project that scientifically estimated the number of river floaters, where they float in relationship to river projects and natural wood loading areas, the risks they take while floating, and their perceptions of large wood in the river. Selecting a high-use suburban river in Washington State, we used riverside observations, interviews, and an infrared counter to gather recreation data in the summer of 2010. Additionally, aerial photography was used to identify the locations of naturally recruited large wood. Statistical analyses provided general characteristics of users, trends in engaging in risky behaviors, and estimates of use for the entire season and on the busiest day. Data mapping with GIS presented both the the density wood and the density of recreation use along the river and frequency of use of specific float routes. Finally, qualitative analysis of interviews clarified the public’s opinion of large wood. We describe how this data was used in the 2011 to inform river management decisions.