Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2011


Great Plains Research 21 (Spring 2011):39-48


© 2011 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The construction of the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River eliminated thousands of acres ofriparian and floodplain lands on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Restoration is needed to replace wildlife habitat. This study focused on site selection for native cottonwood (Populus deltoides Bartr. Ex Marsh. ssp. Monilifers (Ait.) Eckenwalde) restoration to help mitigate this loss. Geographic information systems technologies were used to develop a suitability model for cottonwood restoration. Tribal lands were extracted from a digital dataset oflandownership. Those touched by or included in a 46 m border of the Moreau River were candidate sites. Of the 182 candidates, 50 sites were randomly selected for model development. Slope, aspect, stream length and number, soil properties, and land cover criteria were given a numeric score and these were summed; the lowest total score possible was -7 and the highest score possible was 33. The sample sites were evaluated and ranked as high (21 to 33, 7 sites), medium (7 to 20, 35 sites), or low (-7 to 6, 8 sites) for growth and maintenance of riparian cottonwood forests. Five sites were selected for cottonwood restoration using the model developed. Bare root trees were planted mechanically and by hand. Drought conditions limited survival and 50% ofthe area was replanted. Further data collection may increase the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology and facilitate site selection for cottonwood restoration in the northern Great Plains.