The foothills and shortgrass prairie ecosystems of Colorado, United States, have undergone substantial and sustained anthropogenic habitat change over the past two centuries. Riparian systems have been dramatically altered by agriculture, hydrological engineering, urbanisation and the introduction of non-native invasive species. In 2016, Denver Botanic Gardens began a restoration effort of Deer Creek which seeks to modify the hydrology of the creek by mimicking the effects of beaver dams with artificial structures. The site, owned by the US Army Core of Engineers and managed by Denver Botanic Gardens, had been the subject of previous botanical surveys. With the initiation of the restoration project, permanent transects were established along the stream and are sampled for ground vegetation richness and abundance, canopy cover, soil and stream conditions and aquatic macroinvertebrate community makeup on an annual basis. To provide a means for tracking any post-intervention changes in the riparian ecosystem, this resource reports all recorded occurrences and measurements, along with methodologies and motivations from past and current surveys in the form of a sampling event dataset.
The current project and past surveys document 382 plant taxa and 157 aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa. A total of 16304 occurrences and 7422 measurements are included in the resource. Occurrence and measurement data taken from transects provide a means to measure species abundance, ground cover and other biotic and abiotic characteristics relevant to assessing the effects of hydrological restoration on riparian plant communities.