Synopsis of Topic
Recovery potential has various definitions, but in this class we will treat it as proxy for identifying realistic targets. Various methods exist for evaluating different aspects of recovery potential that we will review in class. Most restoration projects do explicitly define a target or analogue of some sort. In some cases, that is a historic analogue or condition for that reach. However, which point in time or history is appropriate and asking the question as to whether or not any historic target is realistic to achieve given current and projected boundary conditions is always important.
Reference reaches (i.e. choosing an intact or good condition variant of the same type or flavor of stream/river), is a common approach too, but whether or not recovery to that better condition variant is possible needs to be assessed. Also, without adequate geomorphic context it is easy to choose inappropriate or unrealistic reference reaches as analogues. Based on a solid understanding of the physiographic setting, geomorphic setting and ecological condition, theoretical analogues can also be developed. Assessing recovery potential is all about defining realistic targets and objectively assessing the degree of achievability. We will review a variety of techniques by which this is done, but we won’t do any of them at this stage. We refer you to Chapter 11 of Brierley and Fryirs (2005) for one of the more comprehensive treatments of the subject.
Why we’re covering it
Recovery potential is helpful for defining reasonable and realistic targets for restoration. Without an appraisal of actual potential to recover, unrealistic targets might be chosen (e.g. a historic analogue when boundary conditions have changed, or a reference reach inappropriate to the setting).
The course learning outcomes that this topic fulfills include:
- 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.
Tools we Used
Relevant or Cited Literature
Books we Looked at in Class:
- Brierley G and Fryirs K. 2005. Geomorphology and River Management: Applications of the River Styles Framework. Blackwell Publishing: Victoria, Australia, 398 pp. - Particularly see Chapter 11 - on Stage III.
- Brierley GJ and Fryirs KA (Eds). 2008. River Futures: An Integrative Scientific Approach to River Repair. Island Press: Washington DC.
- Darby SE and Sear D (Eds). 2008. River Restoration: Managing the Uncertainty in Restoring Physical Habitat. John Wiley and Sons: Chichester, U.K., 344 pp.
- Whitworth J. 2015. Quantified: Redefining Conservation for the Next Economy. Island Press, 256 pp.
Specific Articles or Chapters:
- Macfarlane WW, Gilbert JT, Gilbert JD, Saunders WC, Hough-Snee N, Hafen C, Wheaton JM and Bennett SN. 2018. What are the Conditions of Riparian Ecosystems? Identifying Impaired Floodplain Ecosystems across the Western U.S. Using the Riparian Condition Assessment (RCA) Tool. Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-018-1061-2.
- Fryirs K, Brierley GJ and Erskine WD. 2012. Use of ergodic reasoning to reconstruct the historical range of variability and evolutionary trajectory of rivers. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 37(7): 763-773. DOI: 10.1002/esp.3210.
- Fryirs KA. 2015. Developing and using geomorphic condition assessments for river rehabilitation planning, implementation and monitoring. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water. 2(6): 649-667. DOI: 10.1002/wat2.1100.
- Fryirs KA. 2016. River sensitivity: A lost foundation concept in fluvial geomorphology. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. DOI: 10.1002/esp.3940.
- Kondolf GM and Yang C-N. 2008. Planning River Restoration Projects: Social and Cultural Dimensions, River Restoration. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, pp. 41-60. DOI: 10.1002/9780470867082.ch4.