Event Title

Imperfect Realities: Practical Strategies for Monitoring Geomorphic and Ecological Responses to Trout Habitat Restoration

Presenter Information

Nira Salant

Location

Eccles Conference Center

Event Website

http://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

4-20-2010 2:00 PM

End Date

4-20-2010 2:20 PM

Description

Pre- and post-project monitoring are essential components of any restoration strategy. Monitoring programs must be thoughtfully designed and implemented to avoid unnecessary expense and produce informative results that can aid adaptive management and future restoration. A design must incorporate which response variables to measure, the scales (temporal and spatial) of observation, clearly identified performance goals, the condition of reference sites, and the type of analysis desired. However, the realities of project implementation, natural variability, and management objectives often complicate monitoring design. Two years of pre- and post-project monitoring on the Strawberry River, Utah - a site of ongoing instream restoration aimed at cutthroat trout recovery - have generated important insights into both the effectiveness and complications of a comprehensive monitoring program. We evaluate the lessons learned from four commonly-used metrics - percent bed fines, fish population density, habitat complexity, and bank erosion rate - by categorizing monitoring techniques, measurement scales, response scales, observed short-term responses, and expected long-term responses for each variable. From this assessment, we identify which variables and what scales of observation yielded the most information about the system response (or lack thereof) to restoration and which will be most useful for long-term assessments. We also address complicating factors that can skew analyses or invalidate certain indicators, including natural variability in reference sites, lack of adequate pre-restoration data, and external interference with response variables. In light of these lessons, we propose strategies for restoration and monitoring that will enhance our ability to learn from our efforts. We recommend greater integration of monitoring design into pre-project planning and implementation, such as experimentally-designed restoration, time and funds for pre-project assessments, and the establishment and maintenance of suitable reference sites

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Apr 20th, 2:00 PM Apr 20th, 2:20 PM

Imperfect Realities: Practical Strategies for Monitoring Geomorphic and Ecological Responses to Trout Habitat Restoration

Eccles Conference Center

Pre- and post-project monitoring are essential components of any restoration strategy. Monitoring programs must be thoughtfully designed and implemented to avoid unnecessary expense and produce informative results that can aid adaptive management and future restoration. A design must incorporate which response variables to measure, the scales (temporal and spatial) of observation, clearly identified performance goals, the condition of reference sites, and the type of analysis desired. However, the realities of project implementation, natural variability, and management objectives often complicate monitoring design. Two years of pre- and post-project monitoring on the Strawberry River, Utah - a site of ongoing instream restoration aimed at cutthroat trout recovery - have generated important insights into both the effectiveness and complications of a comprehensive monitoring program. We evaluate the lessons learned from four commonly-used metrics - percent bed fines, fish population density, habitat complexity, and bank erosion rate - by categorizing monitoring techniques, measurement scales, response scales, observed short-term responses, and expected long-term responses for each variable. From this assessment, we identify which variables and what scales of observation yielded the most information about the system response (or lack thereof) to restoration and which will be most useful for long-term assessments. We also address complicating factors that can skew analyses or invalidate certain indicators, including natural variability in reference sites, lack of adequate pre-restoration data, and external interference with response variables. In light of these lessons, we propose strategies for restoration and monitoring that will enhance our ability to learn from our efforts. We recommend greater integration of monitoring design into pre-project planning and implementation, such as experimentally-designed restoration, time and funds for pre-project assessments, and the establishment and maintenance of suitable reference sites

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2010/AllAbstracts/14