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  1. Sep 2021
    1. A PFC assessment can be incorporated into an integrated riparian management process through a logical sequence of actions (figure 2). Figure 2. Recommended steps for managing riparian areas using an integrated process. After effectiveness monitoring has been done (step 6), initial objectives are validated and modified if necessary. After implementing adaptive actions, step 6 is repeated to monitor the effectiveness of those actions.Step 7: Implement adaptive actionsStep 6: Monitor and analyze the effectiveness of actions and update resource condition ratings (PFC)Step 5: Design and implement management and restoration actionsStep 4: Identify issues and establish goals and objectivesStep 3: Prioritize reaches for management, restoration, or monitoring actionsStep 2: Identify riparian resource values and complete additional assessmentsStep 1: Assess riparian area function using the PFC method • Identify assessment area and assemble an interdisciplinary team • Review existing information and delineate and stratify reaches • Determine the potential of the reach • Assess the reach and determine its functional rating (validate with monitoring data if necessary)Modifyobjectivesif necessaryMonitoradaptiveactions
    1. Potential is defined as the highest ecological status a riparian-wetland areacan attain given nopolitical, social, or economical constraints; it is oftenreferred to as the “potential natural community” (PNC)
    2. For areas that are not functioning properly, changes have to be made to allow themto recover (e.g., acquire adequate vegetation). A change such as increasing vegeta-tion cover results in changes that improve function. Recovery starts with having theright elements present to dissipate energy, which puts the physical process intoworking order and provides the foundation to sustain the desired condition.Each riparian-wetland area has to be judged against its capability and potential. Thecapability and potential of natural riparian-wetland areas are characterized by theinteraction of three components: 1) hydrology, 2) vegetation, and 3) erosion/deposition (soils).
    3. The components of this definition are in order relative to how processes work on theground.When adequate vegetation, landform, or debris is present to dissipate energy associ-ated with wind and wave action or overland flow, then a number of physical changesbegin to occur, such as reduced erosion, floodplain development, and improvedflood-water retention. As physical aspects of an area begin to function, they start theprocess of developing wetland characteristics. These physical aspects have to befunctioning properly to sustain characteristics that provide habitat for resourcevalues.
    4. Proper Functioning Condition - Lentic riparian-wetland areas are func-tioning properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or debris is present to:dissipate energies associated with wind action, wave action, and overlandflow from adjacent sites, thereby reducing erosion and improving waterquality; filter sediment and aid floodplain development; improve flood-waterretention and ground-water recharge; develop root masses that stabilizeislands and shoreline features against cutting action; restrict water percola-tion; develop diverse ponding characteristics to provide the habitat and thewater depth, duration, and temperature necessary for fish production, water-bird breeding, and other uses; and support greater biodiversity.
    5. Toassess the condition of a riparian-wetland area, there must be a gauge to measureagainst. The definition of PFC in TR 1737-9 and TR 1737-15 establishes the gaugefor assessing lotic systems. This definition has to be adjusted for lentic systemsbecause they are affected by wind and wave energies or overland flow energiesversus high flow events, and they typically have a restrictive layer (e.g., geologicstructure/soil material/permafrost/manmade restrictive layer) that limits water perco-lation and maintains the site:
    1. This cooperative strategy recognized that if riparian-wetland areas are to be produc-tive, they have to be managed on a watershed basis, which requires working togetheracross ownership boundaries. To be successful, the agencies would need to usecommon terms and definitions and determine a minimum method for evaluating thecondition of riparian-wetland areas. The BLM and the FS identified the PFCmethod as the starting point—as the minimum level of assessment for riparian-wetland areas.
    2. Technical Reference 1737-15, AUser Guide to Assessing Proper FunctioningCondition and the Supporting Science for Lotic Areas (Prichard et al. 1998) providesthe background for how the PFC tool was developed. The PFC method has beenimplemented by BLM and adopted by several other agencies. In 1996, the BLMand the USDA Forest Service (FS) announced a cooperative riparian-wetland man-agement strategy, which would include the NRCS as a principal partner. A NationalRiparian Service Team was formed to act as a catalyst for implementing thisstrategy
    3. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), andthe Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly the Soil ConservationService, worked together to develop the PFC method. The methodology forassessing the condition of running water (lotic) systems is presented in BLMTechnical Reference (TR) 1737-9, Process for Assessing Proper FunctioningCondition (Prichard et al. 1993), and the methodology for standing water (lentic)systems is presented in TR 1737-11, Process for Assessing Proper FunctioningCondition for Lentic Riparian-Wetland Areas (Prichard et al. 1994).