An ambitious plan is under way in the ecological community to agree a set of standards for ecologically successful river restoration. The plan is being led by the British Ecological Societys Journal of Applied Ecology, which this month is publishing a special profile on river restoration. Opening the debate is a paper by 22 leading US river ecologists proposing five criteria for ecologically successful river restoration. Their aim is to arrive at an agreed set of standards which would eventually be endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme.
Although billions of dollars are spent on river restoration projects worldwide, little agreement exists on how their success is measured. According to lead author Dr Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland: “Given the rapid rate of global degradation of fresh waters, and the fact that river and stream restoration has become a booming enterprise, it is time to agree on what constitutes successful river and stream restoration.”
Palmer and her colleagues say that the success of river restoration should be judged according to five criteria: a guiding image; improving ecosystems; increasing resilience; doing no lasting harm; and completing an ecological assessment.
Becky Allen | alfa
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