Restoration Principles


Synopsis of Topic

As part of our first and second classes (as well as your first homework), we will cover a variety of perspectives on restoration principles. A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior. The underlying principles to restoration provide guidance and sideboards for how we pursue restoration practice. We will cover both some generic ecological restoration principles as well as some principles more specific to riverscape and aquatic ecosystem restoration as well as process-based restoration.

Common themes will include: sustainability, resilience, efficiency, effectiveness and engagement.

Why we’re covering it

Without some guiding principles explicitly spelt out, it can be easy to get lost in the weeds of restoration practice. Returning to some

Learning Outcomes

  • Build a working understanding of the typical process through which restoration projects are conceived, proposed, planned, permitted and conceptually designed.
  • Objectively evaluate and analyze the scientific, political, economic and feasibility tradeoffs of various approaches to restoration in a specific project context and gain an appreciation of working with diverse stakeholders. Synthesize this analysis through a planning process that prioritizes specific restoration and management actions throughout a watershed.


Slides & Handouts

Week 1

We started out with an introduction to restoration principles.

Handout from Class

Week 2

In the second week we also reviewed of principles in addition to introducing the restoration process

Relevant or Cited Literature

  1. Beechie, T., Sear, D.A., Olden, J.D., Pess, G.R., Buffington, J.M., Moir, H., Roni, P. and Pollock, M.M., 2010. Process-based principles for river restoration. Bioscience, 60(3): 209-222. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2010.60.3.7. The benchmark paper in river restoration literature on process-based restoration.
  2. Cairns, S., Dudley, N., Hall, C., Keeneleyside, K. and Stolton, S., 2012. Ecological restoration for protected areas : principles, guidelines and best practices. Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series. IUCN, 120 pp. An interesting example on specific restoratoin principles for the case of restoration of ‘protected’ areas.
  3. Higgs, E., Harris, J., Murphy, S., Bowers, K., Hobbs, R., Jenkins, W., Kidwell, J., Lopoukhine, N., Sollereder, B., Suding, K., Thompson, A. and Whisenant, S., 2018. On principles and standards in ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology, 26(3): 399-403. DOI: 10.1111/rec.12691. A paper discussing the needs for principles and standards in restoration from the Society of Ecological Restoration
  4. Sear, D.A., 1994. River Restoration and Geomorphology. Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 4(2): 169-177. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.3270040207. One of the earlier papers in river restoration literature to highlight need for process-based principles in restoration.
  5. Suding, K., Higgs, E., Palmer, M., Callicott, J.B., Anderson, C.B., Baker, M., Gutrich, J.J., Hondula, K.L., LaFevor, M.C., Larson, B.M.H., Randall, A., Ruhl, J.B. and Schwartz, K.Z.S., 2015. Committing to ecological restoration. Science, 348(6235): 638-640. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa4216. A useful policy perspective highlighting four priniciples for ecological restoration.
  6. Wheaton, J.M., Bennett, S.N., Bouwes, N., Camp, R., Maestas, J.D. and Shahverdian, S.M. 2019. Chapter 2 – Principles of Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration. In: J.M. Wheaton, S.N. Bennett, N. Bouwes, J.D. Maestas and S.M. Shahverdian (Editors), Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration of Riverscapes: Design Manual. Utah State University Wheaton Restoration Consortium, Logan, Utah. 30 pp. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.34270.69447. A chapter on principles specific to the low-tech processs-based restoration of structurally-starved riverscapes.

Process-Based Restoration Specifically

Perhaps the two most definitive resources on Process-Based Restoration for riverscapes have been Beechie et al. (2010) and Roni & Beechie (2013). Please also see Appendix A.

Beechie T, Sear DA, Olden JD, Pess GR, Buffington JM, Moir H, Roni P and Pollock MM. 2010. Process-based principles for river restoration. Bioscience. 60(3): 209-222. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2010.60.3.7

Roni P and Beechie T (Eds). 2013. Stream and Watershed Restoration: A Guide to Restoring Riverine Processes and Habitats. Wiley: Chichester, U.K., 300 pp. DOI: 10.1002/9781118406618

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