River restoration interactive geospatial database to inform future river rehabilitation design
Each year, a fifth of Reclamation's budget- approximately $250million- is spent on river restoration projects and it is expected that this value will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. River restoration projects can include fisheries and aquatic habitat improvement, river enhancement and improved channel function, river and stream bank protection, fish passage and barrier removal, rearing habitat improvement, gravel augmentation, wetland and riparian habitat creation, water quality enhancement, and fish stocking, among other activities.
This research project aims to create a river restoration database to collect information about projects that have already been implemented and to inform future rehabilitation designs for fish and aquatic species recovery under the Endangered Species Act. Past river restoration projects in a variety of programs across all of Reclamation's regions will be evaluated to compare and contrast successes and lessons learned. Project- and program-wide knowledge will be obtained to help inform agency-wide knowledge on river restoration projects.
Year One of the project will encompass building regional program and project contacts, , defining the scope of the river restoration database, developing key questions for data collection and metrics for defining project success, identifying published project reports and research, and creating a template for database entries. Two major river restoration programs will be selected for pilot-level data collection. Researchers will visit these program offices to view implemented projects and collect information on project goals, project features, stakeholder responsibilities, monitoring efforts, and lessons learned. Researchers will learn how their river restoration scopes have expanded over time, how they differ by location, and how local projects affect watershed goals.
Results from the pilot-level effort will guide the comprehensive collection of data for a Reclamation-wide database.
Need and Benefit
River restoration projects are a key part of Reclamation's aquatic species recovery efforts. Having an easily accessible database of implemented projects, their shortcomings or successes, and recommendations to avoid potential gaps in knowledge would increase the quality of restoration projects while saving designers time and resources.
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