Assessing riparian restoration effectiveness with ClimateEngine.org data
This study presents a method and case study to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration of riparian vegetation using a web-based cloud-computing and visualization tool (ClimateEngine.org) to access and process remote sensing and climate data. In each study area, the post-restoration NDVI-precipitation relationship was statistically distinct from the pre-restoration relationship, suggesting a change in the fundamental relationship between precipitation and NDVI resulting from stream restoration. We infer that the in-stream structures, which raised the water table in the adjacent riparian areas, provided additional water to the streamside vegetation that was not available before restoration and reduced the dependence of riparian vegetation on precipitation. This approach provides a cost-effective, quantitative method for assessing the effects of stream restoration projects on riparian vegetation.