Tag Archives: planning

Assessment and Monitoring – The Keys to Successful Restoration

THI on baseline assessmentA baseline assessment can best be described as the basis by which to judge the success of any action taken to conserve, protect, enhance or restore water resources or habitats. Monitoring, when properly executed, continues to evaluate the health of the resource after any action is taken in order to track results in a meaningful way.  This is the critical feedback loop to insure successful restoration and prudent adaptive resource management.

Trout Headwaters Inc performs baseline assessments to meet a variety of objectives, and to guide all restoration planning, design and installation. New technologies have made the assessment process quick and low cost – certainly the best investment toward a successful enhancement or restoration project.

Assessments can do the following:

  • Reveal ecological potential and challenges;
  • Answer project feasibility questions;
  • Uncover hidden problems before you renew, repair or restore;
  • Provide baseline data for permitting and for comparison over time;
  • Add value to property acquisition due diligence;
  • Prevent costly surprises.

 >Request our free Assessment FAQ

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EPA Releases Climate Change Adaptation Plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the final version of its Agency-wide Climate Change Adaptation Plan and seventeen Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans. The plans were developed in response to directives in President Obama’s Executive Order 13653 – Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. The Plans reflect input received from a public comment period and are living documents that will be periodically revised in subsequent years to account for new knowledge, data, scientific evidence, and lessons learned from EPA’s ongoing efforts to integrate climate adaptation planning into its programs, policies, rules and operations.

Commitments in the Climate Change Adaptation Plan include: integrating considerations of climate change into the Clean Water State Revolving Funds process and continuing to work with States to ensure investments in water infrastructure are resilient to changes in climate; and, providing communities with the tools they need to increase their resilience, such as the Stormwater Calculator and Climate Adaptation Tool. All plans, including the Office of Water Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plan can be found here.

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Unintended Consequences May Have Created a “Point of No Return” for Commercial Fisheries

Graphic courtesy of Conservation Magazine.

Graphic courtesy of Conservation Magazine.

In Conservation Magazine’s recent good read, “Point of No Return: Why Aren’t Fish Populations Recovering?” author Natasha Loder examines why fishery management policies may have resulted in an insurmountable “Darwinian Debt.”

In the 1940s, cod in the northeast Arctic had an average size of 95 cm. Today they average only 65 cm. And average size and age of fish at maturation have been decreasing for decades in many commercially exploited fish stocks. Size limits may be the culprit.

A controlled, peer-reviewed study published in the journal Science in 2002, turned conventional thinking about fisheries management on its head.
“In most commercial fisheries, fish are removed on the basis of size. There are minimum, not maximum, size limits. But the study’s results show that this approach may have results that are exactly the opposite of what is intended. Within only four generations, taking out larger fish produced a smaller and less fertile population that also converted food into flesh less efficiently,” writes Loder.

Read more: http://conservationmagazine.org/2008/07/point-of-no-return/?utm_source=Conservation+Magazine&utm_campaign=7582ac4c87-This_Week_s_Good_Read_Nov+30_2013_10_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d0cc46f2ab-7582ac4c87-294168197

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6 Latest Trends in Corporate Sustainability

We're Your EcoPartnerEarlier this month Ernst & Young and GreenBiz Group released a new study, entitled ‘2013 Six Growing Trends in Corporate Sustainability.’ Based primarily on a survey of the GreenBiz Intelligence Panel of executives and thought leaders engaged in sustainability, this study reveals that “companies are increasingly connecting the dots between risk management and sustainability by making sustainability issues more prominent on corporate agendas.”

While the study shows companies in general move forward when it comes to sustainability, it seems that they still make progress incrementally rather than taking the fast lane. Nevertheless, it is still interesting to learn about the current trends in sustainable business and this report presents six of them that are shifting now the business landscape.

Read more: http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/05/new-study-shows-latest-six-trends-corporate-sustainability/

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Consensus Among Bay Environmental Groups Is Elusive – Now the Courts Will Be Asked to Resolve the Differences

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Choose Clean Water Coalition (which is comprised of 225 environmental organizations throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed) felt that they had consensus on the use of nutrient trading as a viable tool to help meet the nutrient and sediment runoff goals as outlined by the U.S. EPA’s bay wide TMDL. They were wrong.

Last month, two “liberal” environmental watchdog groups filed lawsuits “seeking to erase one of the plan’s key programs — nutrient trading.” Earthjustice and Food and Water Watch now join the American Farm Bureau and the National Association of Home Builders in opposing the EPA’s initiative to clean up the Bay. Albeit for different reason, but none-the-less the lawsuits will, at least, certainly slow the clean up process down.

The watchdog groups contend that nutrient trading cannot be monitored for effectiveness. The Bay Foundation and members of the Clean Water Coalition contend that the monitoring of nutrients and sediments in each of the watersheds should suffice for monitoring their effectiveness. If there is improvement over time, they are working. If there isn’t improvement, then the system is not. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Please weigh in with your thoughts, and possible experiences with nutrient trading. Is this a viable tool to get agricultural and rural landowners the necessary funding to implement water quality programs? Does nutrient trading ensure that urban and suburban areas can continue to experience economic growth, while programs in other parts of the watershed are cleaning up the Bay? Do you believe this is an effective tool, or not? We want to hear from you!

For more information on the conflict go to:

Author Doug Pickford of Trout Headwaters, Inc. (THI), an environmental planner with 20 years of experience in the Chesapeake Bay area, follows events in the bay watershed as the tide turns from voluntary to mandatory for bay cleanup regulations and protections.   Doug’s blog series for THI will document what is likely the largest and most significant watershed clean up effort in the history of the U.S., and offer his insights into some practical ways to assist the health of this magnificent natural resource

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‘River Wiki’ Opens Information Sharing Floodgates

A project led by a UK government agency to harness the power of Wikipedia to share environmental knowledge worldwide is opening a new front in the battle for open source, open data government. The original Wikipedia grew from nothing in 2011 to more than four million articles today, through the goodwill of volunteers worldwide and the robustness and ease of use of its collaborative editing software. Now this same open source software – WikiMedia – is being used by the Environment Agency in England and Wales to collate and share information on river restoration projects across Europe and the world – generated by policy makers, engineers, ecologists, planners and others involved in restoring rivers.

Read more: http://www.ukauthority.com/Headlines/tabid/36/NewsArticle/tabid/64/Default.aspx?id=3788


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Green Infrastructure: New Term for Ancient Systems

There’s a new term for nature’s ecological services: Green Infrastructure. These green systems are beginning to replace “gray” systems in cities like Seattle. Green infrastructure can be restored wetlands, rooftop gardens, or permeable pavement that trap and filter pollutants before water flows into streams and rivers and is carried to bays and estuaries. A recent article by journalist Jim Robbins posted on Environment360 profiles Seattle as an early adopter of green infrastructure as the city works to clean up its air and water using lower cost, natural methods. At THI we advocate for Restoring Nature’s Water Filter  in our work to preserve and restore freshwater resources. Read more: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/with_funding_tight_cities_are_turning_to_green_infrastructure/2564/


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The Taimen Conservation Project – Notes from the Field June 13, 2012

This series follows University of Montana graduate student Dan Bailey as he travels the wilds of Mongolia to survey and tag Taimen, the world’s largest trout. From the team’s remote field camp, Dan is posting to the Club EcoBlu blog as he assists with the Taimen Conservation Project .  Taimen are highly endangered, have been known to grow to 6-ft long and more than 200 lbs.  The information gathered will aid in drafting a conservation plan to protect this megafish.  Trout Headwaters, Inc. is a sponsor of the project.

Here we are at the start of the 2012 Mongolian field season.  As with any trip to Mongolia I am excited for the conservation work to come and of course the fishing to be had.  This year has found us expanding our foreign angler education campaign to the Chinggis Khan International airport in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.  We have secured contracts to rent advertisement space in the international baggage claim to promote our taimen conservation message.  This approach will allow us to target international anglers as they arrive in Mongolia.  To be exposed to a taimen conservation message as one of the first images a foreign angler encounters will provide a clear and comprehensive message of taimen conservation in Mongolia. 

Unfortunately, it is not all good news coming out of Mongolia regarding taimen conservation.  This spring has found all of us who are involved with taimen conservation actively fighting against the introduction of taimen hatcheries in Mongolia.  I am sad to say that a taimen hatchery is in the beginning stages of construction at the mouth of the Delger Murun River.  This is the river where I have guided and worked for the last 6 years and is where we are currently conducting a population assessment on wild taimen numbers.  This hatchery is not the only one proposed that I, and most  taimen conservation organizations, believe will have devastating effects on wild taimen populations throughout Mongolia.  Regrettably, these hatcheries have been promoted by the Taimen Conservation Fund (TCF), the only national taimen conservation organization.  While these hatcheries have been supported by the TCF they have been vehemently opposed by taimen conservation organizations and taimen fly-fishing outfitters as a direct threat to wild and sustainable taimen populations. 

The introduction of hatcheries could not have come at a worse moment.  For the first time in Mongolia outfitters, international monetary funds, and taimen conservation organizations began to work together to promote a larger taimen conservation strategy.  Each group has reached a level of comfort with the health and protection of the taimen fishery where they each have time and resources invested.  The introduction of hatcheries has caused all groups to pull back and revert to the concept of protecting their own river and be damned with the rest.  This concept cannot continue as it only results in the protection of several select rivers while allowing the vast majority of Mongolia’s wild taimen populations to be exploited and affected by unscrupulous outfitters, uneducated anglers, and hatchery-raised taimen.  This is absolutely not the time to revert to these practices, we need to stand together as a unified group and oppose the damaging policy actions that wild taimen face in Mongolia.

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10 Questions to Ask Before Restoring Your Stream or Wetland

Before you start that fisheries enhancement project or erosion control project, you need to ask the right questions.  Our free consumer report “Buyer Beware: A Warning to Consumers about the Industry” will give you the Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Aquatic Resource Consultant.  In the report, we also identify the five most common problems in today’s aquatic resource consulting industry are:

  • Lack of industry standards or professional certification for practitioners
  • Assessments that are no more than opinion disguised as science
  • No consideration for multiple project alternatives
  • Use of “cookbook” design strategy without consideration of site specific conditions and factors
  • Poor understanding of liability issues
  • High degree of uncertainty about how to measure project success or failure

The last four of these can be solved by insisting upon a repeatable, scientifically-valid, resource assessment including a written report derived from solid data. Never hire a company that shows up, looks at the site, kicks the dirt, and starts offering solutions. Make sure the company intends to perform a thorough assessment before providing “answers,” or quoting a price.   Ask what the assessment report will include.  Assessment parameters will vary depending upon the type of resource (stream, lake, wetland), but a scientifically-based, repeatable assessment is simply mandatory.  To receive a free copy of the consumer report mailto:info@troutheadwaters.com or to learn more www.troutheadwaters.com

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“Engineering With Nature” Fema Case Studies Show Greener Alternatives To Riprap

 There are numerous options for approach when it comes to the complex issues of riverbank stabilization.  FEMA’s “Engineering with Nature- Alternative Techniques to Riprap Bank Stabilization”  highlights several basic alternative measures that have successfully been used.   The case studies demonstrate the use of erosion control blankets, woody plantings, LWD and more, highlighting the improved ecological values and reduced maintenance requirements over riprap.

The release notes” As technology advances, and our knowledge of the effects we have on our environment increases, it is inevitable that even more of these techniques will be discovered and improved upon and that the traditional approach of riprap or hard armoring a bank will no longer be the norm.”

The authors’ conclude: “We tend to leave a large footprint in our interactions with our surroundings. As we manipulate and attempt to control the water we so love and depend upon, we need to look at the long-term effects we have on our immediate surroundings.”  For an electronic copy of the report request info@troutheadwaters.com

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