Increasing Accessibility of Riparian Assessment Tools through Web Applications

Date: 2023/11/14

Author(s): Shaw C K., Wiest S.R.

Publication: ASCE Inspire 2023, p. 199-207


DOI: 10.1061/9780784485163.024


Riparian zones are important transitional areas between upland and stream ecosystems that improve water quality, provide ecological habitat and corridors, maintain natural hydrologic processes, and provide other important ecosystem goods and services. Riparian management has grown in prominence, as these systems have become important foci of stream restoration efforts, stormwater best management practices, greenspace corridors, and nature-based solutions for climate mitigation. Restoration practitioners, regulators, designers, and researchers require models for assessing the ecological outcomes of different riparian management actions. While many models exist, they often are challenging to find in grey literature and may not have analytical tools and calculators available for other users. In this study, we compile nine riparian assessment procedures and models, construct a web application for accessing these tools, and demonstrate the utility of this application for informing stream restoration. Our project embodies the principles of Open Science by increasing the accessibility and practicality of existing scientific models. For instance, our web interface helps practitioners locate hard-to-find models, select among models for a particular application, and execute the models with error-checked calculators. The application also increases the long-term shareability of these riparian models through platforming that publicly shares computational code (e.g., through online repositories), reduces barriers to entry for analysts (e.g., programming literacy), and increases ease of use, all of which save time and money for stakeholders.