As practicioners will attest, simple classification systems and models are no substitute for proven, thorough assessment techniques or good data or appropriate multi-disciplinary restoration design. Our streams, wetlands and other habitats are simply far too important.
A noteworthy 2005 article by several prominent scientists commenting on a then-popular classification system and restoration strategy concluded: “Practitioners concerned with professional liability and with the future of their professions would do well to provide design services based on peer-reviewed professional standards.”
We’d argue that the key to real restoration lies in removing human-caused disturbances and providing for sustainable, adaptive and long-term resource management. Successful projects start with thorough assessment.
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;
Joinhost Mike Sprague from Trout Headwaters to explore a wide cross section of applied ecological restoration in the U.S. In this series, Experience EcoBlu takes you from the laboratory to the field and from the theory to the ground with some of the top experts, scientists and policy-makers.
“As moderator for this series, I thought we’d start where I started, near a small town in western Massachusetts, on the eve of the Clean Water Act. On the Millers River…”
Piles of rock or concrete dumped along a stream bank does not equal restoration. In fact, we believe it can often do more harm than good. Trout Headwaters, Inc takes a “do-no-harm” approach to restoration. We’ve pioneered the reliable use of “soft” materials, like natural fiber mats anchored with live native plants, to protect river and stream banks from erosion. Rocks just don’t grow. Just because everyone else is restoring waterways a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s right. We’ve become comfortable with swimming upstream. After all, the trout seem to prefer it that way. Learn more by contacting us.
A significant irrigation dam across the Yellowstone River is part of a lawsuit filed this month by Defenders of Wildlife and Natural Resources Defense Council against three federal agencies. The groups claim that the pallid sturgeon, a species which dates back to the days that dinosaurs roamed Montana, has declined sharply over the past century due to dams built in the Missouri River drainage. The lawsuit contends that a planned $59 million dollar upgrade on the Yellowstone River dam will only build a larger dam, according to the Associated Press. >Read More http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/article_fded1176-7a0f-5cad-bc44-cd981def5382.html
It is one of the precepts all students are taught in medical school. It reminds a physician that he or she must always consider the possible harm any intervention might cause. It also applies quite accurately to the process of restoring rivers, wetlands and uplands. The very act of “restoring” any resource or habitat implies that you do no harm.
Our natural environment plays host to an immense variety of species, many of them microscopic. Whether reducing excessive erosion or enhancing habitat for fish, we not only tread lightly on the delicate ecosystems that exist, we strive to protect and enhance it. >Learn More about EcoBlu!
In his fact-filled and thought-provoking critique of man’s long history of impacts on the Snake River, Richard Manning, writing in a recent High Country News asks the reader to acknowledge one basic fact. “The Snake River Plain,” he writes “sprawling over 15,600 square miles, is a desert. The river system and about 10 inches of rain a year are its water supply entire.”
For nearly twenty years, Trout Headwaters and its clients have focused considerable energy and investment on trout habitat restoration. Our work has been to restore cold water habitats across the U.S., increasing biodiversity and restoring ecological function. Over this time unfortunately we have been witness to lots of invasive management and restoration techniques which damaged stream and wetlands systems, including inappropriate hatchery stockings. Some of these damaging so-called “restoration” projects were simply accidents or catastrophes (depending on scale) others have been part of some accepted ill-informed management strategy. See “Rotenone? 1952 Called and Wants Its Fisheries Management Strategy Back” for a pertinent example.
Sandra Postel writes recently in the blog Water Currents: “It’s a sad truth that many major rivers – the blue arteries of the Earth – no longer reach the sea. Our demands for water – to drink, grow food, produce energy and make all manner of material things – have sapped streams of their flow and ecosystems of their vitality. The web of life, of which we are a part, is fraying.”
It’s this fact that has given rise to a new initiative being backed by some big partners. Change the Course is being piloted in the iconic and heavily depleted Colorado River Basin, which provides water to some 40 million people and 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of irrigated land. With its conservation partners and sponsors (including Disney, Coca Cola and others), the effort has helped return 2 billion gallons (7.6 billion liters) to rivers throughout the watershed, as well as to the Delta, once one of the world’s great desert aquatic ecosystems. >Learn More http://changethecourse.us/