AssessmentTechniques_tlaustin_3_30_12x - riverrestoration

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1


Introduction

Fo
r several decades, ecologists and scientists alike have been working toward developi
ng
and improving scientifically defensible
stream riparian and
wetland assessments

(Stevenson
2002)
. These assessment tools
provide a defin
itive procedure for
evaluating
the
c
omplex
ecological condition and functional capacity
of an ecosystem

using a finite set of obs
ervable field
indicators

(Brinson
et al
.

1996; Kleindl
et al
.

2009)
.


They are aimed
provide information to
fulfill

permitting requirements,

satisfy

water quality standards,
and
gui
d
e

management and
regulatory decisions.

The selection of assessment methods depends up

on the objectives,
geographic area, wetland type, desired level of detail, and av
ailability of applicable models.
More
importantly
,
the
results of ass
essments can be translated into
restoration
designs and
implementation

along with
long


term
monitoring protocols

(Kleindl
et al
.

2009)
.


The term restoration is used in different ways;

however
,

it
can be defined
as,
the
“reestablishment of the structure, functions and natural diversity

of an area that has been altered
from its natural state


(Pess
et al
.

2003).

Cortina
et al.

defines restoration in terms of the
simultaneous increase of

the structure and function in an ecosystem due to human intervention.
In

ecological restoration, the structure and function are considered

attributes of the
whole
eco
system. S
tructure might refer

to

the

geomorphology, hydrology, soil
, water quality
,

and
vegetation
. F
unctions
might refer to
the services they provide such as
detaining flows,
groundwater
storage and recharge,
filtering pollutants
,
food web
s
,
plant

succession,
and
diversity
of aquatic habitats

(

…citation here
)
.

The
loss of ecosystem se
rvices
provided by naturally
functioning river systems is

a
worldwide

problem
caused

by pollution, loss of

habitat

structure
,
loss of access

to habitat, and invasion of exotic species
(
Costanza 2000
)
.

Ecological
assessments
are

generally useful in determining whether the function of a system is impaired to the point that
restoration is necessary (Stevenson

2006)
.


In the United States, b
illions of dollars are being spent on stream and river restoration
(Palmer

et al
. 2005
;

Bernhardt
et al
.

2005
)
.

Yet, the

outcome of river restoration are marked by
inadequacies
that applied the wrong

spatial scale to understanding the complexity and dynamic
nature of ecosystems and their attributes (Beechie 2008; Hauer and Lorang 2004).
Haue
r and
Lorang argue that
processes that occur at a
landscape scale
are

largely driven by both

structure
2


and function.
However, restoration efforts are

typically directed toward site
-
specific scales

such
as a specific wetland

or toward a single
-
species.

Successful r
estoration of river ecosystems and
their physical,

biological
and chemical
integrity require

innovative management

approaches that
consider the
appropriate
s
patial and

temporal scales
of their variabilit
y and the
anthropogenic
impacts
.

(Kerans and Karr, 1994
;

Hauer and Lorange 2004
)


This paper
sets out to
examine

assessment

techniques

directed toward
river restoration,
including
wetland and riparian systems
,

and its role

in

systemically gather
ing

information for
achieving improved management decisions and
effective
rest
oration strategies.
Approaches
including

the
functional

capacity

assessments,
biological assessment, as well as

rapid assessment
methods will be discussed. A
n overview
of

e
xisting r
apid assessment methods (RAMs)

and
technical considerations
that have been developed for us
e in state and tribal
programs
will be
provided
.
Although most of the

literature reviewed
for RAMs
are specific to wetland ecosystems
they
are
applicable to
floodplain and riparian systems.
Consideration of p
ost
-
restoration
techniques including moni
toring and adaptive management will

also

be
discussed.


Scales of Assessment

Although assessment methods vary in quantitative detail of the data collection,
the le
vel
of scale at

which assessments are
performed

has considerable effects on the resolution of the
results

(Kleindl
et al.
2009
)
.
The ability to accurately assess ecological function is complicated by
the fact that wetlands vary in type, in time and in space, which directly influences their
functional ability.
Numerous a
ssessment

techniques

have been implemented on a variety of
spat
ial
scale and intensity

(Sutula
et al
.

2006)

(Figure 1)
.

The intensity of the methods r
ange
from complex and time

intensive (e.g. HGM
) to

quick and relative

qualitative

(e.g. rapid
assessments); while, the spatial scale can vary from the watershed
level

(e.g.,
Landscape Level
Functional Assessment [LLFA]
) to

site
-
specific (e.g.,
Index of Biotic Integrity [IBI]
).

A
ssessment
s conducted on a regional
-
scale tend to
generate

coarser

results

since it does not
develop the assessment models necessary to be appli
ed rapidly

in the field

while be sensitive
enough to
detect changes in function at the appropriate
level of resolution

(Kleindl et al. 2009)
.


3



Figure 1. Plot of intensity of assessment versus scale of assessment (after Sutula et al)


Recognizing the
spatial extent

of the assessment is important to establish
as
riparian and
wetlands

exhibit distinct characteristics.
Although wetlands share these characteristics, they also
perform

on a wide range of geologic, climate, and physiographic situations

(Brins
on

1996)
. This
variability poses a challenge to developing assessment methods that are
practical for end users to
conduct in a short period of time and accurate in that the method can
detect

significant changes
in function.


It is important assessments
distinguish factors effecting variability. River systems are not
static. Variability can occur as pa
rt of a natural cycle, from diurnal to seasonal fluctuations
.
For
example, d
issolved oxygen varies diurnally in response to the photosynthetic activity of p
lants
producing oxygen. Variability can also occur due to anthropogenic activity such high aquatic
plant production (e.g. algal blooms) in response to nutrients from runoff or sewage. Errors in
sampling or analysis can also attribute to variability of the
assessment

(Reed 2003)
.


Reference site

Assessment me
thods should include reference conditions
. These “reference conditions

serve

as
benchmark
s
which assessment scores for the study area can be compared

against

(Reed
2003; Bri
n
son; 1993; Palmer
et al
.

2005; Pess 2003
; Hauer
et al
.

2003
).
The reference site
4


should
also include a

range of variation in condition across a gradient of disturbance from most
disturbed to least disturbed (Brinson 1996
; Reed 2003
).
Palmer et al.
(2005)
stated

that in order
to f
rame restoration goals reference sites should be
selected to represent the waters in the
absence of or
relatively

u
ndisturbed

by human impacts
. I
dentifying
reference sites for large river
systems
poses challenges since the upper reach

might be less impa
cted than the lower reaches.
Thus, choosing a heavily impaired river reach as a reference condition to “move away from”

might

be

a
practical

approach

in some cases
.


Assessment endpoints


Some methods are developed to assess
function
.
Function is defined as an ecological
process occurring over time or more simply, “the processes that wetlands do.” (Smith
et al
.

1995).

Identifying function requires repeated
measures that quantify

rates of processes over
time.
There is a distinction betw
een methods that assess condition versus those t
hat measure
function
.

Functional capacity assessment
s

often focus on the capacity to perform individual
func
tions and provide more
detailed information, while the condition
-
based assessments
produces a genera
l evaluation that combines multiple functions and provides the overall
ecological health of a system based on the combined scores

(Hauer
et al
. 2003)
. The type of
approach should be clearly defined and based on management questions being investigated
(Bri
nson 1996
; Stevenson and Hauer 2002
).


Assessment goals and objectives


Identifying the goals and objectives of
an assessment aimed to restore a system
must be
clearly defined and realistic

(Palmer
et al

2005
; Dahm
et al.

1995
)
. Often times, managers tend
to define restoration goals
as

mimicking

historical
site conditions

when the historical
setting
of
the area is unknown. Palmer
et al
.

(2002)

argue

that rather than trying to reach for unachievable
conditions the goal
should
support minimal degradation of the river while achieving the most
ecolo
gically dynamic state
possible.
An ecologically dynamic state is one in which the
biological, hydrological and geomorphic features of the natural system

vary in abundance and
compositio
n both spatially and
temporarily, as in reference sites. An ecologically dynamic state
also implies that these natural systems are resilient to outside

disturbances.


5


Assessment Techniques


Numerous assessment techniques that
characterize the current
state of

natural system
s

have been developed for
varying
purposes but with
the ultimate

goal o
f managing and restoring
ecosystems
.
A variety of protocols have
differ
ent approaches that range from subjective and
visual
-
based to objective and

quantitative
-
ba
sed

(EPA 2004).

This paper compiled various
assessments developed by agencies with specific assessment goals and intent (Table 1).

However, only a few select methods will be discussed.



The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has developed

the Site Assessment
and Investigation and Stream Visual Assessment
(VA)
Protocols. They provide a

multidisciplinary
inventory and assessment
for stream restoration

(NRCS 2007)
. The process
-
based

framework
assesses

the
past,
pres
ent
, and future

state
s

of w
atershed dynamics, identifies

resource needs to support the selection and design of restoration activities,
and measures

the
outcomes and successes of restoration
activities
.
The VA assessments assist in the pre


and
post


assessment of restoration by
evaluating: dominant fluvial processes, anthropogenic
impacts to fluvial systems, and the status of restoration designs
.
The assessment protocols have
been helpful for landowners to implement channel stabilization structures (NRCS 2007).


The NRCS tech
nique collectively assesses the hydrologic, geologic, and biological
attributes of a stream system.
An initial assessment of the stream flow duration and classification
is based on field criteria such as channel, flow duration, bed water level, aquatic ins
ects, material
movement, channel materials and organic material.
Changes

in sediment supply in

the system,
sediment transport, change in bank erodibility,

or

a combination of these factors determine
whether a channel is stable or unstable.

The biological
component records the presence of pools
and

riffles
in order to assess the
potential of fish productivity. NRCS assessments are flexible
and often incorporate

two common biological indices, the Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) and
the Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichopera (EPT) Index.
The IBI utilizes fish surveys to
assess anthropogenic impacts on a stream and its watershed

(
Kerans and Karr 1994)
. Si
nce

fish
are sensitive species to an array of stresses and their population
demonstrates

effects of
reproductivity fai
l
ure or mortality, they are useful in measuring degradation in watersheds.

The
EPT index uses bethic macroinvertebrates (e.g. mayflies, ston
eflies, and caddisflies) as indicators
6


to assess land use and water quality within a watershed.
The bottom
-
dwelling organisms serve as
indicator
s

of
the effects

the immediate area

they are found
.
The EPT
index is based on the
grounds that

the greater the i
mpacts (e.g. pollution) the less the species richness is found, as only
a few species are tolerant to pollution.

The biological methods mentioned above are commonly
used in assessment protocols and in completion with the reference condition approach (Bowm
an
and Somers).


I
ntegrated ecological

assessment
(IEA)
is another assessment technique
developed by
Stevenson (2006). Not only does the IEA method assess the b
iological condition of
attributes in
the ecosystem

it can detect

pollutants and anthropogenic activi
ti
es that may be
the cause of
problems
.
Examples of biological (structural) attributes that can be measured and asses
s
ed
include aquatic macrophytes, algae, and aquatic insects (Stevenson and Hauer 2002).
The IEA
uses

al
gae
as
a key indicator

since they

serve as an

important component of food webs in most
aquatic ecosystems.
Excessive buildup of algal biomass
alters the

system by depleting the
dissolve oxygen available, changing the habitat structure for fish and aquatic invertebrate,
and
diminishing the aesthetics of drinking water supplies, and producing a toxic by
-
product
substance.
Algae biomass is measured by sampli
ng chlorophylla, cell densities, and cell volumes
or by direct visual assessment (Secchi disk and rapid periphyton surveys). Diatoms are
commonly used in these
assessments

than green algae or cyanobacteria due to their
quick

identification and dominant
pre
sence.




On the broad
er

spectrum, a landscape scale assessment

offers an assessment

of stream
channel and
in support of
riparian habitat restoration needs

(Meixler and Bain 2009). This
quantitative assessment technique uses spatial analysis tools to effic
iently assess stream quality
and identifying priorities for conservation management. Changes in stream and riparian health
can be determined using GIS rather than traditional field methods. This assessment

is intended to
be cost
-
effective and rapid, and
can be readily updated. The study evaluated the East Credit
subwatershed in Ontario, Canada

which had impaired water quality

and degraded stream
channels, thus

targeted for restoration practices.
L
and cover data, digital elevation models
(DEMs), road shape
files, railroad shap
e
files, 1:100,000
-
scale streams and drainage delineates
were compiled
for each reach.
A

stream channel condition index (SCCI
) was calculated using

7


information on land cover, road and railroad density, and sinuosity while t
he riparian co
ndition
index used

estim
a
tes of percent forest,
and vegetation patch density

based on land cover in the
floodplain.
Each reach was

classified in restoration classes based on the indices and the results of
the model land ownership, slope, position in the su
bwatershed, and adjacency to high
-
quality
habitat
. The priority ranking from the GIS model was compared with the field based
classification and the GIS
-
based method generated fairly accurate results.
The Skagit Watershed
Council also incorporated GIS

anal
ysis

to conduct assessments by estimating changes in
sediment supply due to land use by extrapolating from sediment budgets in select tributary
watersheds in northwestern Washington State.
The method resulted in
identifying

sediment
supply classes as either similar to the natural background rate, or significantly higher than the
background rate due to land use
activities
.






















8


Table 1. Varying assessment techniques developed with varying indices measured

Assessment Technique

Assessment
developer
/champion

Indices

measured

Stream Restoration and
Investigation


Site Assessment
and
Investigation
; Stream Visual
Assessment Protocols

NRCS

Hydrological, Geological, Biological

Integrated Ecological Assessment

Stevens
on
.

Biological (algae
assemblages
)

Ecological Impact Assessment



Landscape Scale Assessment

Meixler and Bain

Hydrological and geological

Rapid
Bioassessment

U.S. EPA

Biological

Stream Corridor Assessment
Survey

Maryland Department of Natural
Resources

Instream and near
-
stream habitat
conditions

Rapid Stream Assessment
Technique



Environmental Methods
Assessment Program (EMAP)

U.S. EPA


Proper Functioning Condition
Assessment

U.S. Bureau of Land Management,
U.S. Forest Service, NRCS

Riparian health

Breeding Land
-
Bird
Assessment/Biotic Integrity

Terrell D. Rich


Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity

(B
-
IBI)

Kerans and Karr

Assess biological condition using
invertebrate assemblages

Rapid Stream
-
Riparian Assessment
(RSRA)

Stevens, Sta
cey, Jones, Duff,
Gourley and Catlin


Lotic Wetland Health Assessment
for Streams and Small rivers

Bureau of Land
Management


Riparian Assessment for Lotic
Systems

Montana Natural Resource
Conservation Service


Greenline

Bank Stability

US Forest Service


Landscape Level Functional
Assessment

US Army Corp. of Engineers


Hybrid Assessment of Riparian
Function



Integration of Hydrogeomorphic and
and IBI

Stevenson and Hauer


Benthic Assessment of SedimenT
(BEAST)


Biological



Rapid Assessment Methods


Alarmed by the diminishing water quality of

the nation's streams and lakes, as well as the
degradation
of wetlands and the valuable benefits they provide, the Federal Water Pollution
Control Act of 1972

was
enacted
. This legislation later became the Clea
n Water Act (CWA) and
included requirements to improve water quality and specific
limitations

on the developme
nt of
wetlands. Through this act,

wetlands turned out to be the only land type to be regulated on both
9


private and public lands within the United
States (
EPA 2004
; Stevenson and Hauer 2002
).

In
2008, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corp of Engineers released a rule that
advocated the use of functional assessment
s

in mitigation monito
ring and performance
evaluation.
With that ruling came

th
e need for rapid assessments that would assess wetland and
riparian function
.


Rapid assessment methods (RAMs) are dynamic tools aimed
to be robust, economical
,
and easily applicable to assess wetland and riparian function

(Sutula
et al

2006
)
.
The RAMs
are
intended

to
evaluate the complex ecological
condition
or function
of

wetland and riparian
systems using a fixed set of
observable
field indicators, such as plant
commu
nity and structure,
hydrology, p
hysical structure.

If developed effectively
,

they can

provide information that:

assess
es

the ecological condition or integrity of wetlands
to
document
the extent of degradation;
provide

early warning of eco
system stress or degradation;

determine
s

the effectivenes
s of
management actions; and,
track
s

wetland condition for regulatory programs charged with
wetland management, restoration, and mitigation
(EPA 2004).





There are range of RAM guidebooks and field manuals that have been developed for use
by tribal and state programs. States including Cal
ifornia, Maryland, and New Mexico have made
initiatives to develop new assessment methods or modified existing wetland and riparian
assessment methods to suit their specific physiographic area. In spite of their varying
physiographic area, each RAM
method
should consider

how to define the as
sessment area when
in the field,

how to
integrate

different wetland types into t
he application of the method,

how
sco
ring is organized,

whether or not certain functions should be recognized for their value or the
ecosystem services they provide,
regardless of condition; and,
the need for verification with
comprehensive ecological data

(Brinson 1996)
.

This section
provides an overview of s
elect

rapid
assessment methods developed for restoration measures.


Hydrgeomorphic (HGM)

T
he HGM
assessment is a reference
-
based tool developed to assess condition (using
functions as currency) relative to data obtained from
a
class of relatively undisturbed wetlands.
(Stevenson
and Hauer

2002
, R
heinhardt
et al
.
1999
, Brinson

et al
. 1996
). Developed by the

Army
Corp of Engineers
, the HGM was initially designed

to facilitate the Clean Water Act Section 404
10


permitting program to assess unavoidable project impacts, determine mitigation requirements,
and monitor the success of the mitigation projects.
A

variety of other potential applications
include

managing wetlands

and
restoration

prioritization,
implementation, and monitoring

(
Brinson 1996
).
Although the Corps has encouraged the use of

HGM in the Section 404 context,
the HGM approach is rarely implemented due to time and budget constraints and the overall
scientific complexity of the method

(Reinh
ardt
et al
.

1999)
.


Its ref
erence
-
based approach acknowledges a suite of

reference sites that are located in a
similar ge
omorphic setting, and the

same physiographic or biogeographic region, and share
similar water source and hydrodynamics (Brinson

199
5;

Rheinhardt
et al

1999
;
Kleind
l

et al.

2009
)
.

These reference sites range from undisturbed to most
disturbed

in order to determine
reference standards and calibrate model variables
(Brinson

1995
).
The HGM restricts the
reference data
to subclass of wetlands
and develops standards based on conditions reflecting the
unaltered subset of reference sites, so that the method is sensitive to detect
ing alterations versus
methods that attempt to evaluate wetlands among different hydrogeomorphic

settings using a
same set of
criteria
.
Structures can be

categorized

as

hydrologic, biogeochemical, and habitat.
Functions may include nutrient cycling, groundwater or surface water storage, and maintaining
aquatic food webs. Each function is characterize
d
by attributes th
at are can be measured by the
degree to which is occurs
and
its response
to
anthropogenic disturbances.
As functions are
difficult to measure directly,
the HGM method has

developed and calibrated a model for each
function

that occur
s

base
d on various indicators. These indicators, also referred to as metrics

or
variables
, provide component scores which can be mathematically combined to evaluate wetland
functions or attribu
tes that contribute to function
.

Wetlands

in the calibration dataset are
of the
same HGM

class, and range from least to
most
disturbed

(
Kleindl et al. 2009)
.


The drawback with the HGM approach is the considerable upfront time required to
develop a guidebook for the HGM subclass project area (Rh
einhardt

et al

1999
). It involves
researching and
designing

a

reference database of subclasses from areas extending across the
biogeographic, developing and calibrating models representing key functional and structural
attributes of the subclass, evaluated which rapid field measurements are most useful for detecting

responses, and developing standards from the reference data.
It also requires

field testing of the
11


guidebook so that accuracy and validation of the models are maintained
.
Although there is
significant upfront time associated with developing the field pro
tocols, the field assessments are
designed to

be

conduct

rapidly.


Rapid Bioassessments
Protocols (RBP
)


The RBP developed by the EPA is a
rapid
approach that offers

states, tribes, and local
agencies
cost
-
effective biological assessments of lotic systems

(Barbour
et al

1999
)
. The RBP is
a synthesis of existing methods including protocols for assessing aquatic assemblages
(periphyton, benthic macroinvertebrates, fish) and habitat assessment, and their functional
parameters (or metrics)

(
Kerans and Karr 199
4;
Barbour
et al

1999
)
.

Taxa richness

has been

one
of the most

applicable

metrics to evaluate po
llution effects and the overall
health of a community
(
Kerans and Karr 1994
). It provides a measure of the complexity of a community and

may be
related to impor
tant as
pects of biological integrity such as functional construction, redundancy,
and
stability.

The RBP involves comparing habitat (e.g. flow regime, physical structure), water
quality, and biological measures with empirically defined reference site conditions. Its wide
application in
numerous states

is due to its quick and inexpensive field methods
.


T
he
RBP encompasses the multmetric IBI

and EPB approach to assessing biological
integrity
.
IBI
was
initially developed to

meet water qual
ity and biocriteria manda
ted by the Clean

Water Act (Barbour et al 1999; Stevenson and Hauer 2002)
.
The IBI serves

as a tool
that uses the
structure of fish and its various attributes

(known as metrics)

to evaluate water quality
.
Metrics

including

the

total number of
species, proportion of individuals in

found in different
trophic
levels, quantity of pollution
-
sensitive tax, which are all examples of structural characteristics that
respond to different

level
s

of anthropogenic impact

(Kerans and Karr 1994
; Stevenson and Hauer

2002
). Depending on the magnitude of the metrics,
they are assigned a score of minus, zero, or
which is translated as 1, 3, or 5, respectively. The IBI is then calculated as the total of metric
scores for a sample which gives a range of 12 to 60 for a single, site


specific score. Karr
designed the scor
e to classify the biological health as poor, fair, good, and excellent.

The reason
the IBI approach is widely accepted is due to its greater transferability and accuracy
demonstrated across various regions (Stevenson and Hauer 2002).


12


The

RBP also incorporates periphyton (algae) as indicators of

short
-
term impact due to
their
inexpensive and
simple sampling methods
. However, their
application in monitoring
programs has

not been widely used

as IBI
.
Benthic macroi
nvertebrates (or EPT index)
are anther
commonly used
technique for site
-
specific assessments

since they are good indicators of
localized conditions
.
Its

assemblages
can make up a

wide range of trophic levels and pollution
tolerances make this inexpensive and simple method more practi
cal for programs to implement.

Assessing physical habitat quality in RBPs is an integral component for the final

evaluation of
impairments.


The physical assessments are based on two reference conditions that are site
-
specific and
regional representing upstream conditions and relatively undisturbed conditions, respectively.
Like other condition references for other techniques, the basis of a re
ference condition is for
comparison purposes and detecting use impairment

(Barbour 1999)
.
Effects of habitat restoration
on two small Kentucky streams were assessed using the RBP. Habitat assessments and fish
species assemblage surveys were conducted for
three sectors of each streams. The protocols
demonstrated to be well suited for quantitative assessments of fish assemblages for small stream
sectors with limited impacts

(Price
et al.

2005)
. However, the application of RBPs for use in
numeral water qualit
y criteria for regulatory purposes has been criticized due to the biased
sampling procedures (Courtemanch 1996).


Rapid Steam
-

Riparian Assessment (RSRA)


The RSRA is a
method for rapid assessment of

the functional condition of riparian and
associated
aquatic habitat
s

in the Southwest

(Stacey
et al

2006)
.
This method evaluates the
degree

to which natural processes predominate

in the stream
-
riparian ecosystem and
if there

is
suf
ficient terrestrial and aquatic
habitat complexity to

support the diversity o
f

native plant and
animal communities.

The
RSRA

is a
qualitative

assessment

based on quantitative measurements

of

two to
seven indicator variables in five

function components. The components are

water
quality,

stream channel and floodplain morphology
,
the
presence of habitat for native fish and
other aquatic species
, vegetation composition and stru
cture

(including occurrence of non
-
native
species)
, and terrestrial wildlife
habitat. Each variable is rated on a scale that ranges from "1",
r
epresenting highly
impacted and
non
-
functional conditions, to "5", representing a healthy an
d
13


completely functional system.
The scores were compared

against
defined

reference
sites that
contain

similar ecological and geophysical characteristics,
with minimal anthropogenic im
pacts.

The variables represent the overall function and health of the stream
-
riparian ecosystem.


Like other RAMs, the RSRA aims to
develop protocols that are economical and efficient
in the field. The

variables (or metrics) developed
can be measured rapid
ly in the field with
minimal use of specialized equipment. The scoring of the variables

(
T
able 2)

are based on
current conditions rather than developing a
prediction of a future state
. The protocols can be used
by specialist plus lay
-
people including ranchers with some initial training. The time frame to
complete the field assessment is within two to three hour period.
With the simplicity of
evaluating only current conditions, the deve
lopers of this method argue that it can be extended to
adaptive management approaches.


Water q
uality

Indicator



Algal Growth



Hydrogeomorphology

Floodplain Connection and
Inundation



Vertical bank stability



Hydraulic habitat diversity



Riparian area soil



Fish/ Aquatic habitat

Riffle
-
pool distribution



Underbank cover



Macroinvertebrates



Riparian v
egetation

Riparian zone plant community
structure and cover



Non
-
native herbaceous plant species



Tree demography and
recruitment



Terrestrial

wildlife h
abitat

Shrub patch density



Mid
-
canopy patch density



Fluvial habitat diversity




14


The application of RSRA is limited to low and mid
-
gradient watercourses with lower and
middle elevation in the southwest. Thus, application to large streams in higher elevations
(mountainous regions) with higher gradients is not suitable (Stacey
et al

2006).


Jicarilla Rapid Assessment of Functions (JRAF)
: A case study


The JRAF was developed for the Jicarilla Apache Nation

(New Mexico)
to develop
protocols for assessing the functions of riverine

floodplains in the Navajo Rive with

broader
application
to the nearby Rio Grande and C
olorado Headwater River systems. The study was
conducted in the

framework of

the CWA Section 404 program.

The
JRAF was designed to
support the
prioritization

of
riparian areas for restoration, enhancement, preservation, and l
and
management efforts;

provide

baseline data for land management opportunities;
and serve

as a
tool for the tribe’s

long
-
term monitoring program

(Kleindl
et al
. 2009)
.



The

format of the JRAF employed a simplified model of the

complex
HGM approach to
functional assessment of wetlands
.
It identified wetlands using
the

HGM
-
based criteria that
govern the functions of wetlands: geomorphic setting (the landform and position of wetland in
the landscape), hydrodynamics (energy and direction at which water fl
ows in the wetland), and
water source (primary source of water in the wetlands such as floodwater or groundwater).

Less emphasis was
placed on

data collection and analysis, and

more emphasis on rapid
field
assessments

while

using the best professional

jud
gments

of the end users

(Kleindl
et al.

2009)
.

(This section not complete)

Post Assessment Techniques


Although there is an increasing commitment of restoring streams and rivers,
a huge

majority of these projects have not undergone evaluation (Kondolf

1995
).
In some projects, no
post
-
project evaluation has been performed whereas other projects do not plan far in advance to
develop evaluation results that is of beneficial use.
In other cases,
little is known

about the
outcomes of the project due to
litt
le

or lack of monitoring and evaluation before or after project
implementation (Bernhardt
et al
.

2005; Wohl
et
al
. 2005
).
The primary
reasons
for poor
reporting of results are primarily due budget constraints and

a non
-
requirement of

post project
evaluation
by funding agencies
. Regardless, t
here needs to protocols established
in restoration
15


techniques for both pre
-
restoration and post
-
restoration
monitoring
and

accountability

purposes
(Wohl

et al 1995
).
Without post assessment
, there
are no
lessons
learned

from

either of the

proje
cts


successes and/or failures
.



Evaluation of the restoration

of 104 km
2

floodplain and 70 km of river within the
Kissimmee basin
provided
insight and recommendation for future work

(
Kondolf

1995)
.

River and stream restoration projects must develop systematic post
-
project evaluation and
publish
the results in order to avoid the

rankings of

high percentage of
project
failures.
As such,

Kond
olf has defined methods that evaluate for project success:




Develop clear objectives


Successful watershed and habitat restoration requires
clearly explicit and specific goals, objectives, and decision criteria that will allow for
accountability (Kondolf; Pess).

The objective statement might include identifying th
e
target species, factors limiting the population, and which factors can be altered in the
project. They should be clear in order for the selection of variable to be measured
during the evaluation period.





Baseline data


To provide an objective basis for

evaluating

environmental

change in
the
system caused by the project. Collection of baseline data should begin far in
advance of the restoration construction. Recording chan
ges in conditions should
correlate with predicted outcomes, as collecting it may se
rve useless if the right data is
not collected.




Good study design


To show the effects of restorat
ion project in the river system
through quantifiable change, which might imply measuring the same variables over
the same period of time at other reference

or control sites.





Long
-
term commitment


To
determine changes in the system long after
implementation of restoration has been in place. This might include evaluating the
riparian revegation which requires years of recruitment and growth before success
can
be absolutely measured. A decade is reasonable period of time to which commitment
is necessary for an evaluation to be truly reported.


Adaptive Management


Existing
institutional

frameworks
function
under
the
assum
ption of static and equilibrium
ecological systems. The

complexity and variability of natural systems
are often not recognized in
regulatory and legal frameworks (Benson and Garmestoni 2010)
. Nuanced approaches such as
16


adaptive management have the
flexibility necessary

to incorporate con
cepts of resilience and
variability

to incorporate into management decisions.


Adaptive management is
a

resource management approach

that is an
iterative
process of
decision
-
making
while striving to lessen the

uncertainty in ecological systems through consistent
monitoring.

It is an underutilized management approach that defies discrete conclusions based
on
‘science,’
by recognizing

that our understanding of natural systems is

constantly

(Benson and
Garmestoni

2010)
.

It requires testing

of the predictions of the natural system and its response
so
that learning occurs as the project unfolds and allows for management decisions to be
reexamined and revised based on new information.


Adaptive management has been

utilized in various resource management disciplines,
such as agriculture, watershed management, oil and gas development, and species protection. In
river management, it is applied at various spatial scales from local project on a small river reach
to basi
n
-
scale management. Since river systems are highly variable and complex
,

applying

adaptive management

to the design of restoration and post
-
monitoring

makes this

a valuable
approach

(Beechie
et al
. 2008)
.

Adaptive management can also be applicable to projects that
appear to be failing initially (Palmer
et al

2007
)


Conclusion


Billions of dollars are currently spent restoring streams and rivers, yet
most projects are
never monitored after restoration and
information describing the success or failure of these
projects

are often un
documented

and
disseminated
(
Palmer et al

2007
;
Berhardt
et al

1999
).
In
order to account for successful restoration projects,
they require clear and specific goals,
objectives, and decision criteria
and evaluation methods (Pess

2003
; Wohl

2005
;Kondolf

dt al
2005
; Palmer
et al

2007
)
.
Strategies need to

transmit

spatial and temporal

scales appropriate
target level to

lessen
uncertainties.

Tools such as
assessment techniques
, stream classification
systems, predictive models, and the development of restoration strategies facilitate in the
improvement of restoration projects and making decisions. A variety of assessment approach
es
have been designed for specific ecosystems and regional areas of interest; however, they serve as
practical tools to identify and prioritize actions to support the goals and objectives of the
17


restoration scheme. They identify impaired systems and the ca
uses of degradation of river
systems, including their habitat structure and habitat losses, and anthropogenic impacts.
Ultimately, the results of the assessment can assist with

i
mproving
management decisions and
effective restoration strategies

(Beechie
et

al
2008)
.


Subsequent documentation of decisions and monitoring response allows managers to
formally adopt adaptive management plans that further address uncertainty in restoration actions.
Linking science with management and social
objectives and treating each result as a learning
lesson

will ultimately lead to a greater understanding of how aquatic ecosystems and watersheds
function and can be rehabilitated.
More importantly, restoration techniques should be geared
toward
supportin
g

the sy
stem
to function with minimal
interve
ntion
and upholding the

capacity
to recover from natural disturbances
.


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