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National River Restoration Science Synthesis (NRRSS)

National River Restoration Science Synthesis (NRRSS)

As the number of river restoration projects in North America continues to grow, the Pacific coast has the largest number of projects and greatest investment overall, and California continues to be one of the most active areas for river restoration. Despite the emphasis on implementing restoration projects, most states do not have comprehensive catalogues of restoration efforts that are easily accessible by scientists, public agencies, and grassroots groups. Other than some limited evaluations of restoration success, the effectiveness of the restoration investment has been largely unevaluated.

NRRSS aims to analyze the extent, nature, scientific basis, and success of stream river restoration projects to date, and to present this information in a way that is useful to scientists, restoration practitioners, and those making policy decisions on what kinds of projects ought to receive priority for funding and implementation.

The NRRSS effort is focused in seven regions within the continental United States as well as a satellite effort in Victoria, Australia. The US regions are: California, Central United States, Chesapeake Bay, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Upper Midwest.

NRRSS regions or nodes participate in several phases:

Phase I: Each node of the NRRSS study produced a summary database of river restoration projects for the respective regions, noting project title, location, agencies, size, timeline, funding sources, costs, and monitoring as available (completed in 2004 and searchable at http://nrrss.nbii.gov/cgi- bin/public_area/public_area.cgi).

Phase II: Each node of the NRRSS study conducted randomly sampled interviews with restoration practitioners, selected from the summary database. Interview questions ranged from planning and design to implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

Phase III: For a subset of projects, the California node will complete post-project appraisals, cusing on river restoration projects that undergo some type of channel reconfiguration, i.e. alteration of channel plan form or longitudinal profile and/or daylighting. Most projects were completed in 2003 or earlier. The California node is looking at a broad range of projects within this larger category, including compound channel reconstructions, dam removal and fish enhancement efforts, and smaller-scale urban stream restoration projects. Estimated date of completion: Spring, 2007.

Restoration at UC

Post-Project Appraisals

A post-project appraisal (PPA) is an evaluation of the effectiveness of restoration projects based on systematic data collection. A river restoration post-project appraisal responds to the following questions:

  • Was it built as designed?
  • Did it achieve its objectives?
  • Should steps be taken to address unanticipated effects?
  • How can we improve future restoration design?

A full PPA will document and analyze the following factors, where available: success criteria, baseline surveys, design rationale, design drawings, and post-project monitoring surveys.

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Last modified: 5/26/2011 8:26 AM by S. Haren

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