Presentation Title

Process-based principles for restoring river ecosystems

Session Title

Session S-06G: Integrating Landscape Scale Assessments Into Local Planning I

Conference Track

Planning Assessment & Communication

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 3:00 PM

Abstract

Process-based restoration aims to re-establish natural rates and magnitudes of physical, chemical, and biological processes that sustain river and floodplain ecosystems, thereby moving ecosystem conditions (physical, chemical, and biological) into the range of natural potential conditions at any site. Ecosystem conditions at any site are governed by hierarchical regional, watershed, and reach-scale processes, identifying restoration actions that are necessary to restore ecosystem function should include analyses that answer two main questions: (1) How have changes in riverine habitats affected biota?, and (2) What are the ultimate causes of changes in riverine habitats? Answers to these questions identify habitat types or areas that are most in need of restoration or will contribute most to biological recovery, as well as the causes of degradation that must be addressed to achieve restoration goals. Watershed analyses therefore include assessments of processes controlling hydrologic and sediment regimes, floodplain and aquatic habitat dynamics, and riparian and aquatic biota. Four process-based principles help guide river restoration toward sustainable actions: (1) address root causes of degradation, (2) make sure actions are consistent with the physical and biological potential of the site, (3) the scale of restoration should match the scale of environmental problems, and (4) restoration actions should have clearly articulated expected outcomes for ecosystem dynamics. Applying these principles will help avoid common pitfalls in river restoration, such as creating habitat types that are outside the range of a site’s natural potential, attempting to build static habitats in dynamic environments, or constructing habitat features that are ultimately overwhelmed by untreated system drivers.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

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May 1st, 1:30 PM May 1st, 3:00 PM

Process-based principles for restoring river ecosystems

Room 6E

Process-based restoration aims to re-establish natural rates and magnitudes of physical, chemical, and biological processes that sustain river and floodplain ecosystems, thereby moving ecosystem conditions (physical, chemical, and biological) into the range of natural potential conditions at any site. Ecosystem conditions at any site are governed by hierarchical regional, watershed, and reach-scale processes, identifying restoration actions that are necessary to restore ecosystem function should include analyses that answer two main questions: (1) How have changes in riverine habitats affected biota?, and (2) What are the ultimate causes of changes in riverine habitats? Answers to these questions identify habitat types or areas that are most in need of restoration or will contribute most to biological recovery, as well as the causes of degradation that must be addressed to achieve restoration goals. Watershed analyses therefore include assessments of processes controlling hydrologic and sediment regimes, floodplain and aquatic habitat dynamics, and riparian and aquatic biota. Four process-based principles help guide river restoration toward sustainable actions: (1) address root causes of degradation, (2) make sure actions are consistent with the physical and biological potential of the site, (3) the scale of restoration should match the scale of environmental problems, and (4) restoration actions should have clearly articulated expected outcomes for ecosystem dynamics. Applying these principles will help avoid common pitfalls in river restoration, such as creating habitat types that are outside the range of a site’s natural potential, attempting to build static habitats in dynamic environments, or constructing habitat features that are ultimately overwhelmed by untreated system drivers.