Located in the Tahoe National Forest near Grouse Ridge, Loney Meadow is a beautiful meadow that supports a diverse and fragile ecosystem. SYRCL began working at Loney Meadow with the Tahoe National Forest in 2011 to assess meadow conditions, restore aspen habitat, improve the interpretive trail, improve stream habitat, and monitor greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration.
Loney Meadow, located in the Grouse Ridge, is part of a larger meadow complex that drains into the Canyon Creek sub-watershed.
Road building, fire suppression, and historic grazing and logging activities have impacted many meadows in the Sierra Nevada. In Loney Meadow, these activities resulted in a partially incised stream channel, destabilized stream banks, an instream habitat lacking complexity, compromised wetland vegetation communities, and encroachment by disturbance tolerant non-native species. The greatest threat to Loney meadow was the continued incision of Texas Creek, which would’ve contributed to further lowering of the water table and further disconnection of the main channel from its historic floodplain. Smaller threats were gully erosion at an abandoned roadbed and encroachment of conifers. Our restoration goals focused on spreading water across Loney Meadow’s historic floodplain in order to reduce erosion from a single stream channel.
SYRCL and project partners began conducting baseline monitoring in 2014 at Loney Meadow in order to understand whether the restoration project would address the project goals.
In September and October of 2017, the Tahoe National Forest and SYRCL restored stream and wetland habitat across the 50-acre meadow.
The main goals of the restoration project were to:
(1) improve plant and wildlife habitat
(2) recharge groundwater
(3) reduce stream erosion
(4) increase carbon sequestration
In 2019, SYRCL and project partners continued post-project monitoring at Loney Meadow in order to compare to the baseline data collected since 2014 (prior to the restoration). The culmination of this project resulted in a comprehensive report that summarizes our findings on how our restoration efforts influenced the ecological function at Loney Meadow. Specifically, restoration actions increased the meadows ability to store groundwater and sequester carbon, and we are now seeing delayed peak stream flows later into the spring. We also saw a response by the vegetation community in Loney Meadow, following restoration, with a shift towards more wetland-facultative species. For more information, or to read our report in full click here.
Our work continues at Loney Meadow through long term stewardship. It is one of our favorite meadows to continue to work at through our long term Field Science Program, which includes a Youth Outdoor Leadership Opportunity for high school students from local areas, including underserved areas of Yuba City and Marysville. We continue to engage with our community by offering volunteer opportunities at Loney Meadow doing a variety of long term stewardship activities such as annual installation and removal of cattle exclusion fencing, aspen monitoring, and trail maintenance.