Sunday, May 22, 2016
10:30 - 12:00

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10:30 - 10:45: / 314 EVALUATING COMPENSATORY MITIGATION UNDER THE CLEAN WATER ACT: THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE

5/22/2016  |   10:30 - 10:45   |  314

EVALUATING COMPENSATORY MITIGATION UNDER THE CLEAN WATER ACT: THE STATE OF THE SCIENCE Compensatory mitigation, or the restoration, establishment, enhancement and/or preservation of aquatic resources meant to offset losses permitted under the Clean Water Act, represents an important topic in aquatic resource restoration and conservation. As an important component of permits authorizing impacts to aquatic resources, it has been the subject of numerous disputes surrounding its ecological value and administrative oversight. Evaluating both ecological and administrative performance of compensatory mitigation programs is essential to ensuring that the important functions and services provided by aquatic ecosystems are preserved. In a review of studies evaluating compensatory mitigation performance in the last 15 years, trends show an overall decline in evaluations, especially in the years since the 2008 Mitigation Rule. Compensatory mitigation performance has not been evaluated for large portions of the US, and relatively few studies of compensation for streams have taken place despite the growing importance of this area of compensatory mitigation. Study design is inconsistent, making comparisons across time and space difficult. We recommend digital tracking combined with regular self-auditing for states to assess the performance of mitigation programs on a recurring basis.

Joseph Morgan (Primary Presenter/Author), USEPA, morgan.joseph@epa.gov;


Palmer Hough ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USEPA, hough.palmer@epa.gov;


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10:45 - 11:00: / 314 EVALUATING STREAM COMPENSATION PERFORMANCE: OVERCOMING THE DATA DEFICIT THROUGH STANDARDIZED STUDY DESIGN

5/22/2016  |   10:45 - 11:00   |  314

EVALUATING STREAM COMPENSATION PERFORMANCE: OVERCOMING THE DATA DEFICIT THROUGH STANDARDIZED STUDY DESIGN Stream compensation, or the use of restoration, creation, enhancement or preservation of streams to offset unavoidable impacts under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, has arisen as an important driver of stream restoration over the past few decades. However, several reviews of stream compensation program performance have identified problems in the way these projects are evaluated for success. Projects are evaluated inconsistently, using different metrics for assessment and different temporal and spatial sampling regimes. Because these data are deficient, it is difficult to analyze current problems with stream compensation and propose direction for improvement. We propose a standardized study design for evaluating stream compensation projects, with standard sampling procedure and metric selection. Our study design will be recommended for application in state-level monitoring programs and will permit direct comparison of projects with the National Rivers and Streams Assessment. As the database of compensation projects evaluated using this standard procedure expands, researchers will be able to better evaluate the efficacy of different procedures for conducting compensatory stream mitigation, thereby better safeguarding our freshwater resources into the future.

Kenton Sena (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Kentucky, kenton.sena@uky.edu;


Joseph Morgan ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USEPA, morgan.joseph@epa.gov;


Brian Topping ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), USEPA, topping.brian@epa.gov;


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11:00 - 11:15: / 314 MITIGATION MISMATCHES: ECOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF SOME COMMON ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING MITIGATION PROTOCOLS

5/22/2016  |   11:00 - 11:15   |  314

MITIGATION MISMATCHES: ECOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF SOME COMMON ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING MITIGATION PROTOCOLS Although the Clean Water Act requires avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of permitted impacts to surface waters, in practice compensatory mitigation can result in net losses of aquatic resources. By analyzing permits and monitoring data associated with 434 stream mitigation projects for surface mining impacts in southern Appalachia, we found severe discrepancies between stated goals and measured outcomes. These mitigation projects used outdated restoration techniques, were insufficiently evaluated, and had minimal performance criteria to meet regulatory standards. Impacts to biota and water quality resulting in impairment according to state indices were commonly unaccounted for in mitigation calculations. We review the support in published literature for some commonly used assumptions underlying mitigation protocols for calculating mitigation credits such as the ability of stream creation or planned improvements in habitat quality to compensate for deterioration in biota or water quality. Refining the definition of stream restoration in regulatory contexts is essential for addressing the shortcomings of mitigation protocols that lead to net losses.

Kelly Hondula (Primary Presenter/Author), National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, khondula@sesync.org;


Margaret Palmer ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, mpalmer@sesync.org;


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11:15 - 11:30: / 314 INCORPORATING FLOW/SEDIMENT REGIMES IN RIVER RESTORATION MONITORING

5/22/2016  |   11:15 - 11:30   |  314

INCORPORATING FLOW/SEDIMENT REGIMES IN RIVER RESTORATION MONITORING A natural flow/sediment regime is an essential driver of river ecosystems, influencing channel and floodplain morphology, habitat heterogeneity and ecohydrology. As with flow regimes, river regulation has strongly altered river sediment regimes (inputs, transport, timing), ultimately affecting biodiversity and ecosystem processes. We assessed various ecosystem properties, namely sediment metabolism, organic matter dynamics and macroinvertebrate diversity, under different flow/sediment conditions within a river segment restored by channel widening. Ecosystem monitoring was conducted over two annual cycles at areas expected to show different temporal dynamics to changes in flow/sediment pulses; e.g. before and after high flow events. Although stable channel areas showed higher metabolic rates (i.e., sediment respiration) and macroinvertebrate diversity (density, richness), temporal variability in these ecosystem properties was much greater in more dynamic channel areas. These results emphasize the importance of integrating flow and sediment regimes in the management of regulated rivers, e.g., towards maintaining dynamic ecosystem properties inherent in natural rivers but often lost in regulated systems.

Eduardo J. Martin (Primary Presenter/Author), Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, EAWAG ; Aquatic Ecology dpt., eduardo.martin@eawag.ch;


Michael Doering ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Zurich University of Applied Sciences, doei@zhaw.ch;


Christopher Robinson ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, EAWAG ; Aquatic Ecology dpt., Christopher.robinson@eawag.ch;


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11:30 - 11:45: / 314 QUANTIFYING THE RESTORATION OF HABITAT COMPLEXITY AND ITS EFFECTS ON MULTIPLE ORGANISM GROUPS AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING

5/22/2016  |   11:30 - 11:45   |  314

QUANTIFYING THE RESTORATION OF HABITAT COMPLEXITY AND ITS EFFECTS ON MULTIPLE ORGANISM GROUPS AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING Large scale habitat restorations have recently been undertaken in a river catchment in northern Sweden, including rehabilitation of massive boulders and large woody debris. To more thoroughly assess ecological responses, we first quantified variability in geomorphological complexity across 20 streams, including degraded, reference, and low- and high intensity restored reaches. We then quantified relationships bet ween habitat complexity and responses of three organism groups (macrophytes, diatoms, invertebrates), organic matter (FPOM) retention, ecosystem processes (leaf decomposition, algal biomass accrual) and invertebrate functional traits. Macrophytes and diatoms responded more strongly to habitat complexity than invertebrates. FPOM deposition increased along the complexity gradient, as did leaf decomposition, associated with shifts in the functional traits of detritivores. There was no change in algal biomass accrual. Our findings demonstrate that restoration of river habitat complexity can enhance ecosystem functioning by favouring more efficient feeding traits in consumer assemblages. Future restoration assessments should incorporate quantification of ecosystem processes and functional traits of biota, in addition to measures of biodiversity and geomorphology, to facilitate a more comprehensive, and mechanistic, assessment of ecological responses.

Brendan McKie (Primary Presenter/Author), Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, brendan.mckie@slu.se;


André Frainer ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Tromsø, andre.frainer@uit.no;


Eliza Maher Hasselquist ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Eliza.Hasselquist@slu.se;


Lina E. Polvi ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, lina.polvi@umu.se;


Roland Jansson ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Umeå University, roland.jansson@umu.se;


Christer Nilsson ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, christer.nilsson@umu.se;


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11:45 - 12:00: / 314 RESTORING STREAM PHYSICAL HETEROGENEITY: EFFECTS ON BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES

5/22/2016  |   11:45 - 12:00   |  314

RESTORING STREAM PHYSICAL HETEROGENEITY: EFFECTS ON BENTHIC MACROINVERTEBRATES Human-induced degradation of streams and rivers has resulted in the homogenization of their physical and biotic features and a consequent loss of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Restoration projects aim to reverse this process. Follow-up studies have showed that although restoration generally succeeds in increasing physical heterogeneity, many projects fail to enhance biodiversity. Possible reasons include the occurrence of multiple pressures in the catchment, insufficient time since restoration and poor potential for recolonization. The lack of positive outcomes may also result from inadequate assessments, i.e. metrics, spatial and temporal scales. We studied 20 forest streams in northern Sweden, where the main hydromorphological pressure is past channelization for timber floating, comprising channelized, restored after channelization and un-channelized systems. Taxonomic and functional characteristics of stream benthic assemblages were surveyed four times between 2010 and 2015, and analyzed in relation to physical habitat complexity and recolonization potential, as defined by time since restoration and quality of surroundings. Results allow for better understanding of the linkages between physical complexity and biodiversity and deriving recommendations for the planning and assessment of restoration projects.

Francesca Pilotto (Primary Presenter/Author), Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, francesca.pilotto@umu.se;


Lina E. Polvi ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, lina.polvi@umu.se;


Brendan McKie ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, brendan.mckie@slu.se;


Christer Nilsson ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, christer.nilsson@umu.se;


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