A 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;
The Bay Journal writes: “Beyond political will or ecological know-how, restoring the Chesapeake Bay and other impaired waters across the country requires a good deal of manpower.” It will take ‘waders in the water,’ to physically return rivers, streams and wetlands to a more natural state.”
A new report from the Pacific Institute (http://www.pacinst.org), “Sustainable Water Jobs: A National Assessment of Water-Related Green Jobs” identifies “136 different kinds of jobs involved in implementing sustainable water strategies, from plumbers to landscapers, engineers to water irrigation specialists.”
Enhancing the sustainability of U.S. water resources is an increasingly pressing challenge facing urban, suburban and rural communities across the U.S. Crafting and carrying out sustainable water strategies can create substantial numbers of green jobs in a wide range of professions and address issues associated with drought, flooding, and water contamination
The Pacific Institute study determined that 10-15 jobs are created by investing $1 million in alternative water supply projects; 5-20 new green jobs are created from a $1 million investment in storm water management; 12-22 jobs by investing same in urban conservation and efficiency; 14.6 jobs from agricultural efficiency and quality; and 10-72 new green jobs from a $1 million investment in restoration and remediation. The potential impact of sustainable water partnerships and investments on the wide range of green job opportunities that can be created can also help in addressing socioeconomic equity.
Unique Gifts for the Trout Head in Your Life Official TroutHeads gear makes great gifts and can be found only one place – www.troutheads.org! Proudly wear the official TroutHeads t-shirt or embroidered cap, or sport an official THI Staff shirt, cap, or field water bottle. Keep a journal in the official THInk Pad, or check out THI’s portfolio of river restoration projects in the latest THI Recent Work.
Just available at TroutHeads.org is a DVD or Blu-ray of the THI-sponsored film “Where the Yellowstone Goes.” TroutHeads are dedicated to preserving and protecting our precious environment and finned friends. Proceeds from all sales will go to the important work of restoring our coldwater resources. To find out if you are a TroutHead visit www.troutheads.org.
Stream, River and Wetland Restoration Projects, Quotes and More. 2012 edition of RecentWork, by Trout Headwaters Inc, shows state-of-the-science application of environmental restoration projects across the United States. >Download the ebook for IPad Ibooks
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.
Fishing guides float and fish our nation’s rivers every day. Because of their familiarity and concern for the resources they fish, guides are often able to spot early problems with stream and river health. It’s unfortunate that a notable number of poorly designed stream restoration projects can actually cause greater harm to an already compromised resource.
The Trinity River Guides Association and the California Water Impact Network have expressed concerns that restoration projects may be causing harm to the river. The two organizations have asked the Trinity River Restoration Program to take a break to determine if river restoration projects completed to date have met their objectives or had unintended impacts. The letter points to excessive gravel introduction into the river channel as well as numerous side channel failures.
Kudos are deserved for the North Carolina legislature for recently passing legislation (which Governor Perdue signed) addressing an issue that has plagued the stream and wetland restoration efforts for years: insufficient project assessment, design and monitoring. Fifteen years ago, Trout Headwaters, Inc (THI) entered the stream restoration industry, and unfortunately, a significant amount of our work today is “re-restoring” streams and wetlands due to failed designs and approaches.
The April 17 Charlotte Observer article (North Carolina spends $140 million on faulty water projects by Dan Kane and David Raynor) aptly highlights many of the problems that plague the still-emerging aquatic restoration industry. When funding escalates for a particular restoration action, money or politics may seek to “replace” sound science. In North Carolina, DOT mitigation became a very lucrative opportunity. One clear problem with failed stream and river restoration projects has been the rampant use of a formulaic or “cookbook” approach currently being used across the United States, and certainly in North Carolina. Unfortunately, this unreliable recipe has been responsible for many spectacular and expensive failures.
As one of the old guys in this relatively new industry of stream restoration we’ve been preaching for more than a decade against simplistic cookbook approaches to complex ecological problems, and have pleaded the case for better industry standards when it comes to assessment and monitoring. We have watched the growing debate over the uncertainty associated with restoration (and especially with aggressive, formula-based approaches) now reaching a broader public consciousness.
We urge North Carolina and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a closer look at what works, and what doesn’t in stream restoration methodologies and approaches. Peter Raabe from American Rivers, an environmental watch group, summarized recently: “Giving more work to the people who are the absolute experts in the ﬁeld is probably the direction we should be going.”
THI agrees and is supportive of this state’s efforts to steer the industry in a sustainable direction.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org or to learn more www.troutheadwaters.com
According to a recent report by the Raleigh News & Observer, more than 30 stream restoration projects have failed during or after construction in the state of North Carolina, “a few of them multiple times, turning what was supposed to be a cleanup into an environmental hazard.” The state is reportedly spending millions repairing these sites.
Some projects have damaged water quality by dumping sediment into waterways. According to the story, “errors in design or construction are partly to blame, but taxpayers absorb much of the cost.”