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Title: Technologies for urban stream restoration and watershed management
Authors: Fischenich, J. Craig, 1962-
Keywords: Stream restoration
Cities and towns
Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program (U.S.)
Publisher: U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Series/Report no.: Information Exchange Bulletin (Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program (U.S.)) ; no.EMRRP-01-1
Abstract: As recently as 100 years ago, the United States was a nation of farmers. Today, 80 percent of us live in urban and suburban areas. The 1997 National Resource Inventory (Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) 1997) showed a 13-percent increase in developed land within the United States in the preceding 5 years. Population growth in Los Angeles or in Atlanta is in excess of 400 people per day (2000 Census), and, on average, 40 acres of land each day is converted from forest or agriculture to urban uses in each of these communities. As our population continues to grow and sprawl into the surrounding environment, our streams and riparian zones suffer enormous impacts. These impacts carry an ecological and economic price tag. One of the fastest growing segments of the Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works budget is the restoration of streams and channels within urban environments. The Corps and others have begun to explicitly recognize that the environmental effects of development during the last century are now ripe for remedial action. While the quality of our lives has improved in many ways, our ability to sustain that quality of life requires that we restore many of the natural structures and functions within our environment that have been damaged and disrupted. The impetus for this is not based on narrowly constructed views of environmental quality alone. There is, in fact, increasing recognition of the social, economic, and ecological values of such endeavors. For the Corps of Engineers, the 21st Century may become a century of restoration. But approaches commonly employed to restore and manage rural streams often do not work for urban streams, and Corps Districts are searching for methods that address the challenges posed in urban environments. Preimpact conditions can seldom be restored in these systems, and projects designed to replicate historic conditions are likely to fail. Techniques based upon the use of reference systems are impracticable because suitable reference data do not exist. Urban streams are continually adjusting to alterations in the watershed's hydrology and sediment yield, which in turn change as watershed development progresses. This adjustment process often lags development by decades – so establishing a reasonable baseline condition for urban streams is problematic. Constraints posed by existing infrastructure, rights-of-way, and diverse local interests present additional challenges. A better understanding of the relative roles of storm water management, riparian buffer establishment, and stream restoration is needed to effectively implement restoration and watershed management projects in urban environments. An objective function-based systems to evaluate urban watershed conditions and benefits of an interactions among management alternatives has yet to be developed. Help is especially needed for General Investigations, Challenge 21, and Continuing Authorities Programs including Sections 204, 206, and 1135, but is also needed to support regulatory reviews and all Corps business practices.
Description: Information Exchange Bulletin
Gov't Doc #: EMRRP-01-1
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited
Appears in Collections:Information Exchange Bulletin

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