Are we really protecting rivers from pollution? It's hard to say, and that's a problem

ScienceDaily | 8/22/2019 | Staff
DebraS (Posted by) Level 3
In their report, entitled "Large-scale protection and restoration programs aimed at protecting stream ecosystem integrity: the role of science-based goal-setting, monitoring, and data management," which was published recently online in Freshwater Science, Academy researchers and the Stroud Water Research Center attribute the dearth of data to a need for greater investment in planning, goal-setting, monitoring and documenting stages of mitigation programs throughout the watersheds.

Stefanie A. Kroll, PhD, an assistant research professor in Drexel's department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science and one of the authors of the report encountered these challenges first hand while working on The Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI).

Fraction - Stream - Restoration - Projects - Practices

"I was surprised to find a very small fraction of stream restoration projects that implemented agricultural best practices (BMPs) and storm water control (SCMs) -- over the past few decades had produced and most importantly documented measurable change in physicochemical aspects of the streams targeted," said Kroll.

Kroll and her collaborators at the Academy drew on their observations from seven years with the DRWI, and a review of similar projects across the region, to identify the main challenges of applying scientific planning and monitoring for restoration.

Obstacles

The most significant obstacles they found were:

To address these challenges, the authors suggest a combination of setting a more stringent standard for monitoring the programs and partnering with established conservation groups to implement it.

Wheel - Challenge - Kroll - Solution - Water

"You don't have to re-build the wheel, to solve this challenge," said Kroll. "One solution is to use water restoration funding to leverage existing scientific and conservation organizations in the region to work to improve water quality and help measure its success."

And when planning these programs, the authors note that it's important to set an appropriate scope, both geographically and temporally, for the monitoring.

Effects - Watersheds - Results - Implementations - Catchments

"The cumulative effects of small, restored watersheds can show greater results than similar-scale implementations spread out in large catchments,"...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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