Science Base and Tools for Evaluating Stream Engineering, Management, and Restoration Proposals

Skidmore, P.B., C.R. Thorne, B.L. Cluer, G.R. Pess, J.M. Castro, T.J. Beechie, C.C. Shea

Publication Date:

Stream management activities, even well-intentioned restoration efforts, have all too often degraded aquatic ecosystems. Site- and reach-scale habitat improvement projects have become the default solution to many habitat deficiencies and constraints, and are often planned and implemented without proper consideration of their landscape context, process drivers, or geomorphic fitness. Failure to recognize these broader scale concerns may lead to poor project selection and increased potential for project failure. To address these issues, we developed a suite of River Restoration Analysis Tool (RiverRAT) resources to guide more efficient, consistent, and comprehensive reviews of stream management and restoration proposals. Resources help determine the depth of review required, assure that a project proposal is complete, and guide reviewers through a thorough and scientifically sound project review. The RiverRAT Science Document and its Appendices provide a comprehensive synthesis of science behind stream management and restoration project development. The ultimate, long-term goals of RiverRAT include: • Enabling consistent, comprehensive, transparent, and documented project reviews; • facilitating improved project planning and design; • encouraging projects that are attuned to their watershed and geomorphic context; and • improving the science and technology of stream restoration and management.

STAPER categories:
  • B4: Review, improve or establish terrestrial and marine spatial planning processes
  • C1: Identify appropriate measures for conducting ecosystem restoration
  • C3: Develop ecosystem restoration plans with clear/measurable objectives and goals  
  • C4: Develop explicit implementation tasks, schedules, and budgets
  • C5: Implement the measures
  • D1: Assess the efficacy and effects of implementing the ecosystem restoration plan
  • D2: Adjust plans, expectations, procedures, and monitoring through adaptive management

Resource Type:
Technical Document