MSEM Assistant Professor Gretchen Coffman and three MSEM graduate students worked in
Muir Woods this summer on a riparian tree survey with a team of restoration
scientists. The goal of the tree survey was to provide the restoration
team and GGNRA ages of trees on seven floodplain terraces along the project
reach in order to evaluate how this reach of the creek has evolved and migrated
in the historic period in response to human interventions and natural
processes, and to better understand how it is expected to change in the future.
The tree ages will help provide the ecologic basis for defining appropriate
creek setbacks for planned parking structures.
They collected and analyzed tree growth rings from cores collected for 3
species - California bay laurel, red alder and big leaf maple. From the data
collected in this study, they were able to determine the age of floodplains
that GGNRA would like to protect and restore while providing more parking to
tourists. This study gave MSEM graduate students the unique opportunity to
work on a nearby project with professional restoration scientists in an amazing
National Monument among some of the tallest trees in the world.