Global Water Magazine

Ecosystem Restoration

Many parts of the world suffer from degraded water quality, including 44% of U.S. streams according to a recent study by the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), 2009). One tool available for improving water quality is the restoration of stream and wetland ecosystems because they provide a range of important services such as improving water quality by transforming and removing excess nutrient pollution, improving aquatic life habitat, protecting infrastructure, and enhancing site aesthetics and recreation. And yet, the field of restoration ecology is still a relatively young discipline and there is a lot to be learned about how to best restore ecosystems and the value of restoration.

In this special issue on stream and wetland restoration, the authors examine the natural and social context of stream and/or wetland restoration in both tropical and temperate ecosystems (to see descriptions of the type of articles see submission guidelines). First, This issue has several examples of the type of research and monitoring of ecosystems post-restoration that is necessary to improve our ability to design effective restored ecosystems. Scientific study and monitoring of restoration outcomes is critical for advancing our understanding of how to restore functioning ecosystems. Lindig-Cisneros explores how different management regimes, including traditional plant harvests, cattle grazing, and fire, influence plant species diversity and wetland ecosystem service provisioning from wetlands in Mexico. Margriter and Bruland explain the history, importance, and status of Hawaiian wetlands and their current research approaches for prioritizing wetland conservation and restoration. Morse explores the ecology of a large-scale wetland mitigation site in the coastal plain of North Carolina including how the restoration of wetland hydrology affected the greenhouse gas emissions from the restored wetland. Sutton-Grier offers advice for those considering doing research in restored wetlands based on her experiences doing research in an urban restored wetland in North Carolina.

Additionally, restoration takes place within a social context and thus restoration objectives need to include socio-economic considerations and a range of benefits, beyond just water quality, that can potentially be achieved through restoration. Stack recommends a comprehensive approach to meeting the Clean Water Act goals that considers a range of approaches to reduce water quality degradation. Martinez describes her experience as a student conducting informal interviews of urban stream restoration design aesthetics in Baltimore, MD.

We hope you enjoy the diversity of topics and research findings as well as all the beautiful photos and graphics in this issue. We especially encourage you to take advantage of the benefits of the online format of this magazine to leave comments on articles where you have further questions or additional insights to share.


References
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), 2009. National Water Quality Inventory: Report to Congress, 2004 Reporting Cycle. USEPA, Office of Water, Washington, DC, p. 43.

Issue cover photo, above, © Brendan DeTemple.
 

Editors of Ecosystem Restoration

Member Photo

Melissa A. Kenney
Editor
Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering
Research Scientist
m.a.kenneyphd@gmail.com

Member Photo

Ariana E. Sutton-Grier
Associate Editor
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Postdoctoral Fellow

Articles in Ecosystem Restoration

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Opinion

Ecosystem Restoration

Use, Conservation, and Restoration of Wetland Ecosystem Services in Central Mexico

Wetlands provide many ecosystem services, including water quality improvements, that can be threatened by human caused disturbances. Nevertheless, in human-dominated landscapes where populations settled centuries ago, traditional uses might provide a way of conserving and restoring wetland diversity and ecosystem services.

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Report

Ecosystem Restoration

Assessing the Condition of Hawaiian Coastal Wetlands Using a Multi-Scaled Approach

What is the best method for assessing coastal wetland condition in Hawaii? We propose that an integrated, multi-scaled approach using a combination of field inventories and GIS analysis is the most efficient and cost-effective way to assess the condition of Hawaiian coastal wetlands.

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Report

Ecosystem Restoration

Adventures in the Science and Policy of Coastal Wetland Restoration

Wetland restoration in coastal areas raises interesting questions about mitigation for wetland losses and potential trade-offs in environmental consequences of restoration.

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Opinion

Ecosystem Restoration

Four Lessons from Restoration Research

This article summarizes some of the most important lessons learned during the author's doctoral research in restored wetlands in North Carolina. 

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Opinion

Ecosystem Restoration

Managing Water Resources

Historically, the Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been effective in addressing water quality impacts from urbanization. The solution may be a comprehensive planning approach to meeting the CWA goals where the economic benefits are linked to the full range of societal benefits and validated by the scientific process.

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Report

Ecosystem Restoration

Recreational and Aesthetic Benefits of Urban Stream Restoration: A Pilot Study

In 2008, a semi-structured survey was used to study the recreational and aesthetic benefits of the restoration of Upper and Middle Stony Run, an urban stream located in Baltimore City. The results indicated that Middle Stony Run had higher recreational and aesthetic benefits than Upper Stony Run.

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