The INSTITUTE for BIRD POPULATIONS
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RESTORING MONTANE MEADOWS AND RIPARIAN HABITAT
Montane Meadows Riparian Restoration program banner photo
IBP Biologist Helen Loffland describes fine scale habitat selection by Willow Flycatchers in Sierra Nevada meadow habitat during a Wildlife Society symposium. Photo by Chris Stermer, CDFW.
Montane meadows provide important breeding and foraging habitat to many bird species in the Sierra Nevada. Unfortunately, bird habitat at many meadows in the region has been degraded by management practices that altered meadow hydrology and changed the characteristics of meadow plant communities. The good news is that both public and private land managers are realizing that meadows with well-functioning hydrology may yield multiple benefits, including increased water storage capacity, improved water quality, downstream flood attenuation, and enhanced value of habitat for wildlife.
Throughout the greater Sierra Nevada, many efforts to restore or enhance meadow hydrology and habitats are underway or are being planned, and many of those projects will provide win-win solutions that simultaneously improve water resource management for humans and enhance habitat for birds and other wildlife.
For more information about IBP’s work in Sierra Nevada Meadows, please contact Helen Loffland.
Photo Credits: Top of left panel, Chris Stermer; bottom of left panel, IBP. Right Column, Andy Reago & Chrissy McClaren

 

RECENT RESEARCH
 
Does meadow restoration bring the birds back? Recently IBP collaborated with scientists from Point Blue to help answer that question scientifically. Their paper was published in the journal Restoration Ecology.
The simplified but good news is that, yes, meadow restoration leads to increased abundance of many bird species over time, and in some cases the birds respond surprisingly quickly. However, simply restoring the hydrology of the meadows was not enough to lead to their full ecological recovery or the full recovery of bird populations. In some cases, additional actions aimed specifically at restoring large, high-density patches of riparian deciduous shrubs were also necessary. This study validates meadow restoration efforts and will help make future restoration efforts more successful.
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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Peer-reviewed Publications
Campos, B.R., R.D. Burnett, H.L. Loffland, and R.B. Siegel. 2020. Bird response to hydrologic restoration of montane riparian meadows. Restoration Ecology 28:1262–1272. For a copy of this publication, please contact Helen Loffland.
Cole, J.S., R.B. Siegel, H.L. Loffland, M.W. Tingley, E.A. Elsey, and M. Johnson. 2019. Explaining the birds and the bees: deriving habitat restoration targets from multi-species occupancy models. Ecosphere 10:e02718. PDF
Mathewson, H.A., M.L. Morrison, H.L. Loffland, and P.F. Brussard. 2012. Ecology of willow flycatchers (Empidonax traillii) in the Sierra Nevada, California: effects of meadow characteristics and weather on demographics. Ornithological Monographs 75:1-31. PDF
Siegel, R.B., R.L. Wilkerson, and D.F. DeSante. 2008. Extirpation of the Willow Flycatcher from Yosemite National Park. Western Birds 39:8-21. PDF
Bombay, H.L., M.L. Morrison, and L.S. Hall. 2003. Scale perspectives in habitat selection and animal performance for Willow Flycatchers (Empidonax traillii) in the central Sierra Nevada, California. Studies in Avian Biology 26:60-72. PDF
Other Publications and Reports
Loffland, H. 2021. Using birds and bumble bees to inform meadow restoration at Carpenter Valley. IBP report to Truckeee River Watershed Council.
Loffland, H. 2021. Using birds and bumble bees to inform meadow restoration at Sardine Valley. IBP report to Truckee River Watershed Council.
Loffland, H. 2020. Willow Flycatcher surveys to inform meadow restoration success at Bean Meadow. The Institute for Bird Populations, Petaluma, CA.
Campos, B.R., H.B. Loffland, and R.D. Burnett. 2019. Relationships between Willow Flycatcher and beaver-modified stream reaches in Sierra Nevada montane meadows. Point Blue Conservation Science and The Institute for Bird Populations PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Clear Creek Meadow. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Hope Valley West. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Leavitt Meadow. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Lower Wolf Creek Meadow. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Pickel Meadow. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Sardine Meadow. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H. 2019. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Wet Meadows Reservoir. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L., L.N. Schofield, S. Dietrich, and R.B. Siegel. 2019. Willow Flycatcher Monitoring at the Perazzo Meadows Restoration projects: 2016-2019. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA.
Loffland, H., and R. Siegel. 2018. Using birds to inform meadow restoration at Faith Valley. The Institute for Bird Populations. Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Schofield, L.N., S. Dietrich, and H.L. Loffland. 2018. Willow Flycatcher surveys on the Tahoe National Forest, 2018. The Institute for Bird Populations, Petaluma, CA.
Loffland, H., and R.B. Siegel. 2015. Monitoring bird response to restoration at Indian Valley. Report to American Rivers. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Strohm, K.H., and H.L. Loffland. 2015. 2015 Willow Flycatcher Surveys in the Tahoe National Forest. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Campos, B.R., R.D. Burnett, H.L. Loffland, and R.B. Siegel. 2014. Evaluating meadow restoration in the Sierra Nevada using birds and their habitat associations. Report to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Point Blue Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA. PDF
Loffland, H L., and R.B. Siegel. 2014. 2014 Willow Flycatcher surveys in east-side meadows on the Tahoe National Forest. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L., R.B. Siegel, C. Stermer, B.R. Campos, R.D. Burnett, and T. Mark. 2014. Assessing Willow Flycatcher population size and distribution to inform meadow restoration in the Sierra Nevada and Southern Cascades. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2013. Assessing the effects of meadow restoration on bird populations in the greater Sierra Nevada: report for the 2012 field season. Report to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L., and R.B. Siegel. 2013. Using bird monitoring to inform meadow restoration at Ackerson Meadow. Report to American Rivers. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA.
Loffland, H.L., R.B. Siegel, and R.L. Wilkerson. 2013. Assessing the effects of meadow restoration on bird populations in the greater Sierra Nevada: report for the 2012 field season The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA.
Loffland, H.L., and R.B. Siegel. 2012. Using bird monitoring to inform meadow restoration at Hope Valley. Report to American Rivers. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Pre-restoration bird surveys at meadows on Sierra National Forest and Sequoia National Park. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Pre-restoration bird surveys at meadows on the east slope of the Tahoe National Forest and Plumas National Forest. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Pre-restoration bird surveys at meadows on the Eldorado and Humboldt-Toiyabe national forests and nearby lands managed by the State of California. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Pre-restoration bird surveys at meadows on the west slope of the Tahoe National Forest. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Pre-restoration bird surveys on meadows of Modoc National Forest, Ash Creek State Wildlife Area, and nearby private lands. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L, R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Pre-restoration bird surveys on meadows of Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Loffland, H.L., R.B. Siegel, and R L. Wilkerson. 2011. Avian monitoring protocol for Sierra Nevada meadows: a tool for assessing the effects of meadow restoration on birds. Version 1.0. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA. PDF
Siegel, R.B., R.L. Wilkerson, and D.F. DeSante. 2007. Determining the status and distribution of Willow Flycatcher in Yosemite National Park. Report to Yosemite National Park. The Institute for Bird Populations, Point Reyes Station, CA.
Bombay, H.L., T.M. Benson, B.E. Valentine, and R.A. Stefani. 2003. A willow flycatcher survey protocol for California. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. PDF
Siegel, R.B., R.L. Wilkerson, and D.F. DeSante. 2003. A rapid, inexpensive field protocol for assessing the importance of montane meadows to breeding and post-breeding birds, and a test of the late season protocol. Riparian Habitat and Floodplains Conference Proceedings, Riparian Habitat Joint Venture, Sacramento, CA. In: California Riparian Systems: Processes and Floodplains Management, Ecology, and Restoration. PDF