After over a decade of research and planning Prescott Creeks completed its restoration plan for Watson Woods Riparian Preserve in 2007. With the generous support from the AZ Water Protection Fund Commission, the AZ Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Prescott, on-the-ground restoration work began during the winter/spring of 2009 and was competed in 2013.
Restoration Project Goals
- To enhance and restore the Granite Creek channel function and existing riparian habitats, as well as to create new riparian habitats.
- To educate and involve the community in the restoration process.
Restoration Project Objectives
- Restore the stability of the Granite Creek stream channel while maintaining natural stream processes: proper hydrologic conditions and functions, stream morphology and channel characteristics, and floodplain function.
- Enhance, restore and (re)create riparian vegetation and habitat along the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve area of Granite Creek.
- Educate and involve community members in the restoration process.
- Monitoring of the living and non-living environment to evaluate and communicate project performance.
Outcomes and Discussion
The Restoration Project was a success. The restored reaches of the Granite Creek channel are stable and functioning properly, and survivorship of planted vegetation exceeds 80%. In regard to vegetative analyses, overall average percent cover for woody plants increased from 4.5% (2009) to 31.9% (2012), and average height classes among study plots increased from 1.0 (2009) to 4.2 (2012). In regard to macroinvertebrate studies, results showed habitat improvements within the Preserve, including increased canopy cover, riparian PFC score, and improved riffle habitat, as well as the establishment of a substrate sufficient for a functional intermittent stream community to develop.
While additional studies may be necessary to evaluate the effects of the Restoration Project on Herpetological and Avian Habitat, valuable baseline data was gathered and existing inventories were further expanded. In total, 19 reptile and amphibian species were observed within Watson Woods, and biodiversity and abundance of herpetological species appears to be increasing the Preserve. In regard to the bird surveys, results suggest an increase trend in numbers of two neotropic migrant species; common black-hawk and Bullock’s oriole.
Considering the overall results and analyses of the Restoration Project Professional Team and visible improvements within Watson Woods, Prescott Creeks believes that these goals and objectives were met. The Preserve lends itself to additional restoration, enhancement, and preservation opportunities, along with additional monitoring activities and associated management plans. Following the conclusion of the Watson Woods Restoration Project, Prescott Creeks remains committed to managing the Preserve for the benefit of wildlife habitat, the City of Prescott, and the Granite Creek Watershed.
Below, the Final Restoration Plan Report can be downloaded in part, or in whole. Please note download file sizes before clicking.
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report (2.8 MB Download)
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report – Appendix – Gemorph Photos (4.1 MB Download)
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report – Appendix – Gemorph Drawings 1 (11.2 MB Download)
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report – Appendix – Gemorph Drawings 2 (12.3 MB Download)
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report – Appendix – Botany (3.9 MB Download)
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report – Appendix – Macroinvertebrates (528 KB Download)
Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Restoration Report – Appendix – Ornithology (3.5 MB Download)