Keynote: Science in Large Scale River Restoration - Dahm


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Keynote: Science in Large Scale River Restoration - Dahm

  1. 1. Bringing Science into Large Scale River Restoration Programs Within Our Reach 12/12/12 Cliff Dahm Professor – University of New Mexico – Albuquerque, New Mexico and Formerly Lead Scientist – Delta Science Program – Sacramento, California
  2. 2. Bringing Science into Large Scale River Restoration Programs• Rationale for large-scale river restoration• Basic principles for effective river restoration• Two successfully implemented large scale river restoration projects (Kissimmee River and Healthy Waterways)• Planning for California Delta restoration• Institutional challenges to river restoration• Science and phases of river restoration• Some insights and helpful advice
  3. 3. Dual Challenge to Rivers Worldwide• Rivers are the chief source of renewable freshwater supplies for humans and contain high levels of biodiversity• 80% of the world’s population is exposed to high levels of threat to water security• 65% of riverine habitat is moderately to highly threatened Vörösmarty et al. 2010 (Nature)
  4. 4. Threats to Rivers• River Biodiversity – Destruction or degradation of habitat – Impacts from overexploitation (overfishing) – Invasion by non-native species – Water pollution – Flow modification• Water Supply – Climate change – Climate variability – Salinization – Water pollution
  5. 5. Basic Principles and Ecological Consequences ofAltered Flow Regimes for Aquatic BiodiversityStuart Bunn and Angela Arthington. 2002.Environmental Management 30 (4): 492-507. Four Guiding Principles • Principle 1: Flow is a major determinant of physical habitat in streams, which in turn is a major determinant of biotic composition. • Principle 2: Aquatic species have evolved life history strategies primarily in direct response to the natural flow regime. • Principle 3: Maintenance of natural patterns of longitudinal and lateral connectivity is essential to the viability of populations of many riverine species. • Principle 4: The invasion and success of exotic and introduced species in rivers is facilitated by the alteration of flow regimes.
  6. 6. Standards for Ecologically Successful RiverRestoration. Margaret Palmer et al. 2005. Journal ofApplied Ecology 42:208-217. Five Criteria for Measuring Success • Design based on a specified guiding image of the outcome • River’s ecological condition must be measurably improved • River ecosystem must be more self-sustaining and resilient to perturbations • No lasting harm should be inflicted on the river ecosystem • Pre- and post-assessment must be completed and data/results made publically available
  7. 7. Instream Flow Science for Sustainable RiverManagement. Geoffrey E. Petts 2009. Journal of theAmerican Water Resources Association 45:1071-1086. • Physical HABitat SIMulation (PHABSIM) has had a global impact by internationalizing the setting of flow criteria and promoting new science. • Physical models (hydrological and hydraulic) have advanced substantively – supporting biological evidence has been slower to emerge. • Need long-term research involving both physical scientists and biologists that link population dynamics and hydrodynamics. • Importance of variability in riverine ecosystems needs to be better understood by policy makers, politicians, and the public.
  8. 8. Successful Large-scale River RestorationThe Kissimmee River Restoration Project ? = Restoration of the Pre-channelized Kissimmee River Kissimmee River
  9. 9. Kissimmee River Basin in South Florida Restoration Goals• 44 miles of channel• 26,000 acres of wetlands• Rigorous and comprehensive evaluation program
  10. 10. Anatomy of the Phase I Backfilling Degraded Spoil Area Backfilled C-38 Remnant River Channel (Micro Bluff Run) Remnant Degraded River Spoil Channel Area (Oxbow 13) Oxbow 13 – Micro-ConnectorFebruary 9, 2001
  11. 11. Kissimmee River Restoration 60 Restoration Expectations (Metrics) Ecosystem Perspective • Hydrology - 6 • Algae - 2 • Geomorphology - 2 • Amphibians - 2 • Water Quality - 4 • Fish - 7 • Vegetation - 10 • Birds - 11 • Invertebrates - 11 • Listed Species - 5Each expectation linked to an experimental design, location and frequency of measurements, methods to be used, and ways to analyze and report the resulting data.
  12. 12. Healthy Waterways Initiative–Southeast Queensland 15 major catchments 22,672 km2 19 local government areas Population 2.5 m Fastest growing region in Australia
  13. 13. Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program (EHMP)Freshwater EHMP- Designed stage 3 ; Implemented 2002 120 freshwater sites (sampled 2x/yr)
  14. 14. Report Cards on Progress
  15. 15. Defensible Science and Effective Communication
  16. 16. The California Delta - USA Two major rivers – Sacramento and San Joaquin
  17. 17. California Water Law – Special Session of Legislature (Nov 09)Five new bills passed and signed into law1. New Governance for the Delta (Delta Stewardship Council), Delta Science Program, Delta Independent Science Board2. Water Bond ($11.14 billion – 15 years)3. Groundwater Monitoring – now required4. Water Conservation (20% by 2020)5. Water Rights and Diversions
  18. 18. 2009 State of California Legislation - The Coequal Goals• Coequal goals means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (California Water Code §85054).
  19. 19. The Delta Stewardship Council• Created by the state legislature in 2009• Comprised of seven appointed members• Supported by independent science experts
  20. 20. Adaptive Management Required in the Delta Plan“Include a science-based, transparent, and formal adaptivemanagement strategy for ongoing ecosystem restoration andwater management decisions.” (Water Code §85308(f))“‘Adaptive management’ means a framework and flexibledecision-making process for ongoing knowledgeacquisition, monitoring, and evaluation leading tocontinuous improvements in management planning andimplementation of a project to achieve specified objectives.”(Water Code §85052)
  21. 21. The Delta Plan Legally enforceable policies plus recommendations Management plan for the California Delta to 2100 To be completed and approved in 2012 Updated at least once every 5 years
  22. 22. Critical Question: What type ofconveyance is best for exporting water from the Delta?Proposed Water Conveyance Methods1. Through the Delta (current method)2. Around the Delta (tunnel or canal)3. Both through and aroundTunnel or canal capacity = 3000 to 15000 cfsConstruction Cost Estimates ~ $15-23 billion
  23. 23. Critical Question: Can improved habitat allow current levels of water export from the California Delta?Proposed Habitat Restoration (50 years)1. Tidal marsh – 65,000 acres2. Riparian zone – 5,000 acres3. Floodplain – 10,000 acres4. Channel margins – 20 milesEstimated Costs (50 Years)Habitat restoration ~ $4.5 billionMonitoring and research ~ $2.2 billion The Historic California Delta
  24. 24. Institutional Challenges to Large-Scale River Restoration• Uncertainty – communicating uncertainty and taking action when faced with uncertainty• Breaking the loop of endless planning – moving on to implementation• Communication – effectively engaging the public, decision makers, stakeholders, and politicians• Synthesis and integration – well-designed evaluation programs, good data management, and informed polymaths
  25. 25. Science and Phases of River Restoration Programs• Science and Planning – getting good science into the planning process in a timely manner• Science and Implementation – developing a robust evaluation program with clear expectations• Science and Communication – providing timely and comprehensible scientific input• Science and Adaptive Management – stronger emphasis on data management, synthesis, integration, and improved understanding
  26. 26. Carlisle et al. 2011. Alteration of streamflow magnitudesand potential ecological consequences: a multiregionalassessment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9:264-270. • 2888 stream flow sites evaluated throughout the United States • Compared stream alteration to other stressors and found that streamflow alterations have the greatest impact • Streamflow magnitudes were altered in 86% of assessed streams • Strong association between diminished streamflow magnitudes (highs and lows) and impaired biological communities for fish and aquatic invertebrates
  27. 27. Lindenmayer and Likens. 2010. The science and application of ecological monitoring. Biological Conservation 143:1317-1328.Characteristics of effectivequestion-driven monitoringprograms: 1. Good questions 2. A clear conceptual model of an ecosystem or population 3. Strong partnerships between scientists, policy- makers, managers and stakeholders 4. Frequent use of the data collected
  28. 28. The role of science in decision making: does evidence- based science drive river conservation policy? • Likens, G. E. 2010 in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8:E1-E9. – Considerable time may elapse between detecting environmental problems and taking political action – Dealing with human-accelerated environmental changes requires better communication among scientists, managers, policy makers, the media, and the public – Scientists need to demonstrate ethical behavior and have unassailable data, perseverance, and good communication skills.
  29. 29. Australian River ScienceMike Douglas Stuart Bunn Peter Davies