Monitoring river restoration efforts: do invasive alien plants endanger the success? A case study of the Traisen river.
River restoration activities are challenging for the native vegetation and the colonization process. The development of invasive alien plant species (IAS) as well as the development of the pioneer vegetation cover and seed bank were observed in one year prior to construction of a new river bed and within the first two years after construction, along the downstream section of the river Traisen in Austria. One year after completion of the new river channel, the occurrence of IAS above ground decreased while the occurrence of target species increased. Furthermore, no seeds of IAS were detected in the new river bed as a result of proper management of soil movement. Despite the positive impact on the abundance of IAS, the restoration project of the river Traisen shows that the fact that such a restoration activity is a disturbance event must be taken into consideration already during the planning process. Supporting the competitiveness of native plant species is an important tool for reducing the danger of establishment of invasive alien species.