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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Approaches to Stream Restoration: Practices in Missouri and Illinois
by Walther, Rachel L., M.S., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2017, 106; 10615035
Abstract (Summary)

The natural landscape is constantly being remolded by human activity, and as a result nearly one-third of all river and stream channels in the United States are classified as impaired or polluted (EPA, 2000b). River and stream restoration are practices often executed out of acknowledgment that freshwater resources are scarce, both nationally and internationally (EPA, 2012a). Because it is not a state or federal requirement to report stream restoration projects or efforts, there is not an exhaustive reference list that includes all past or present restoration attempts in the United States. In an attempt to compile national restoration practices, the National River Restoration Science Synthesis (NRRSS) summary database was published in 2005 and includes more than 37,000 restoration records from 800 data sources (Bernhardt et al, 2005). Despite inconsistent, yet continued, restoration efforts and land management styles, limited information is available regarding the outcomes of stream restoration practices or the extent of their effectiveness (Bernhardt et al, 2007; Moerke & Lamberti, 2004; Kondolf & Micheli, 1995). This is because record keeping and evaluation are not yet standardized processes, so restoration projects continue to go unreported (Frissell & Nawa, 1992; Alexander & Allan, 2006). In order to bring together theoretical and real-world applications of restoration, it is necessary to contact local and regional organizations and agencies that are directly involved in restoration activity.

The current study addresses the commonly reported restoration practices within the two centrally located Midwest states, Missouri and Illinois, and covers various factors that influence restoration planning, implementation, and management. These factors include, but are not limited to: the causes of river degradation and reasons for stream restoration, the methods and goals commonly utilized, and the extent/types of project monitoring. In total, responses were obtained from 21 individuals (i.e. participants) who take part in river and stream restoration first-hand. Interviews were conducted either over the telephone (i.e. teleconferencing), email, or in-person. Participants represent state, federal, private, and/or Non-Profit (NGO) affiliations, and held job positions that include, but are not limited to: project manager, hydraulic engineer, and fishery biologist. The most common causes and reasons for restoration were attributed to urban and agricultural land-use alterations and practices, and chemical pollution or waste. Participants also reported the most common goals or methods in Missouri and Illinois restoration were to either: improve water quality, create or improve habitat, and restore system services and functions. The intent of this research is to help ascertain the extent and type of local stream restoration efforts within Missouri and Illinois. This can help us better understand current restoration practices, and also help guide future restoration projects and management decisions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Martinez, Adriana E.
Commitee: Grossman, Michael, Guehlstorf, Nicholas
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Environmental Sciences
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 56/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental science
Keywords: Land-uses, River restoration, Stream restoration, Watersheds
Publication Number: 10615035
ISBN: 978-0-355-22962-2
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