Restoration and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems

Science Center Objects

Restoration of aquatic ecosystems involves a broad spectrum of active and passive efforts. Passive efforts rely on natural recovery of ecosystems, such as land use practices that protect riparian zones and sources of wood and sediment that drive the geomorphic and associated biological functions in streams. Active efforts involve more direct intervention, usually applied to specific locations, to treat more specific issues. These range from projects on the scale of dam removals on large rivers to refitting culverts on forest roads for aquatic organism passage.

We are currently involved in monitoring and evaluation of active restoration ranging from removal of large dams on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park to replacements of culverts on national forest roads in the Pacific Northwest. We are also actively engaged in a series of monitoring efforts to track physical and biological (threatened Oregon coast coho salmon and Pacific lamprey) responses to active restoration of large wood in streams on Bureau of Land Management lands in the Umpqua River basin. In 2011, we published a feasibility assessment with partners from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service that led to reintroduction of bull trout into the Clackamas River, Oregon, and we continue to assist in monitoring and evaluation of that effort. Our work on water temperature, water quality criteria, and contemporary forest harvest practices in the Trask River Watershed Study represents major interdisciplinary and interagency collaborations to evaluate the effectiveness of current approaches to passively restoring aquatic ecosystem function across broad extents in the Pacific Northwest.