Friday, September 12, 2008

Case Studies in Stream Habitat Rehabilitation

We had an interesting discussion Wednesday night because you each read some background papers and were ready and willing to share your thoughts. Thanks for showing me why you are here. Let me offer you a "thank-you prayer fish" (a central stoneroller Campostoma anomalum) for your efforts.

“The idea that the majority of students attend a university for an education independent of the degree and grades is a hypocrisy everyone is happier not to expose. Occasionally some students do arrive for an education but rote and mechanical nature of the institution soon converts them to a less idealic attitude”
- Robert M. Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintance

Next week we will discuss the results of studies that attempted to evaluate the success of stream rehabilitation techniques -- to learn what works and how "we" have operationalized standards and criteria for "success."

Everyone will prepare by reading the same paper by Phillip Roni et al. (2008) "Global review of physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques" and Ansaw Yaw e will lead the discussion. Everyone should read this one article and post a rhetorical precis; it is a long 24 pages not counting references but is quite comprehensive. This article brings together the very fragmented nature of the literatures on stream habitat rehabilitation. This paper is only available on Blackboard (and not on your CD).

There are many other readings available and we will split up the reading assignments later in anticipation of further discussions on September 24 (led by Brandon Peoples). So you should review the list of readings and decide about specific regions or rehabilitation techniques that you wish to investigate further.

In the first session I will lecture on microhabitat selection(theories and methods). I ask that you think about a stream you are familiar with and mentally bring one personally relevant example of the flora or fauna that exists there (or post a pic) so we can think about the issues of habitat selection in light of stream habitat management. Also, read the required reading on "Certainties and uncertainties in defining essential habitats for riverine smallmouth bass" and post a rhetorical precis on it. If you are morally opposed to (or just uninterested in) this species you may read about habitat selection in a stream salmonid or a mussel or a darter.

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” - Socrates

click on comment below to post your rhetorical precis or comment or photos on the subject.


Brett said...

In a qualitative meta-analysis titled “Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques,” Roni et al. reviewed 345 published evaluations of stream rehabilitation projects. They classified projects into five general categories (road improvements, riparian rehabilitation, flood plain connectivity and rehabilitation, instream habitat improvement, nutrient enrichment) and numerous subcategories according to rehabilitation technique employed, tallied the number of times biotic, physical, and water quality were used as assessment tools, and searched for cohesive conclusions on the effectiveness of rehabilitation across studies. They found that stream rehabilitation was geographically biased, assessment tool use varied by technique, and most rehabilitation focused on local-scale instream enhancements to the exclusion of a larger ecological context. They concluded that the failure of many rehabilitations was due to lack of consideration of ecological context which can be remedied by following a sequential stream rehabilitation strategy that starts by addressing issues at the larger scales, such as water quality and flow regime, and eventually focuses on small-scale rehabilitations, such as habitat connectivity and instream structures.

Brett said...

In “Effects of habitat suitability on the survival of relocated freshwater mussels,” Hamilton et al. test the assumption that success of adult freshwater mussel relocation, a common mitigation practice, is highly dependent on the identification of suitable destination habitat. They relocated specimens representing four species to three different substrate habitat patches in the Apalachicola River and, more or less, compared survival. They found that survival differed by substrate type and species. Despite obvious statistical and study design flaws, they extrapolated these results to conclude that species demonstrate varying degrees of habitat specificity that need to be considered in relocation attempts.

Rockdarter said...

In a review article titled "Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques," Roni et al. state that although much money and effort have been given to river restoration activities, no comprehensive review of the types, failures and successes of such projects have been made which would enable others to determine which methods are appropriate and fruitful. The authors outline five types of stream restoration techniques (road improvements, riparian rehabilitation, floodplain connectivity and rehabilitation, instream habitat improvement and nutrient addition), the types of response variables published for each technique, and the successes of overall efforts with each technique. The authors acknowledge that many such projects have been implemented and not reported in published literature, and that the projects which have been published may be skewed towards the successful efforts, especially those in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The purpose of this review is to give an overall estimate of the effectiveness of each type of rehabilitation method so that future projects can prioritize strategies to avoid project failures.

Roni, Phil, K. Hanson and T. Beechie. 2008. Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 28:856-890.

yaw ansah said...

Roni et al. (2008), in their journal paper, ‘Global Review of the Physical and Biological Effectiveness of Stream Habitat Rehabilitation Techniques’, are of the view that the worsening state of the inland aquatic habitats, which is primarily as a result of several years of human activity, has necessitated worldwide efforts to rehabilitate these systems, with varying levels of effectiveness. The above assertion was made after the authors conducted a seemingly exhaustive literature review from various sources from different parts of the world to assess the effectiveness of stream and watershed rehabilitation techniques carried out in these places. The authors are quick to accept that the fact that they conducted this research only in English, and the inclination of publications towards positive results, could render their conclusions biased. Roni et al. aim at providing important examples of how certain techniques succeeded or failed in certain parts of the world, to serve as a guide to both on-going and future rehabilitation projects.

Roni P., K. Hansen and T. Beechie. 2008. Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 28:856–890, 2008. American Fisheries Society 2008.DOI: 10.1577/M06-169.1

Matt said...

The review article, “Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques” by Roni et al., is a meta-analysis of 345 studies that focuses on the effectiveness of stream rehabilitation efforts by placed each study into one of five restoration technique categories (road improvement, riparian rehabilitation, floodplain connectivity and rehabilitation, instream improvements, and nutrient addition) and determining the studies’ overall success. The authors summarized the number of studies employing each technique, described what factors were used to determine that techniques effectiveness, and explained what is already known about these chosen factors and their ability to improve physical habitat, water quality, and wildlife. Although Roni et al. attempted to perform a global review of restoration techniques; they admit that the majority of the studies were focused in the western world and that a number of studies could be biased towards successful rehabilitation projects. The purpose of this literature review is to show that many rehabilitation techniques have either shown promising or successful, but an adequate assessment of watershed-scale factors should be evaluated before determining the success of reach-scale projects.

Roni, P., K. Hanson, T. Beechie. 2008. Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 28: 856-890

Ryan C said...

Roni et al., “Global Review of the Physical and Biological Effectiveness of
Stream Habitat Rehabilitation Techniques” (2008) Asserts that there needs to be more of a template to go by when referring to stream and river restoration and separates his research into five categories: (1) road improvement, (2) riparian rehabilitation, (3) floodplain connectivity and rehabilitation, (4) instream habitat improvement, and (5) nutrient enrichment. Roni et al uses previously published scientific articles to summarize the success and create a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of certain restoration techniques that have been completed, as well as admits human error in such a study, such as bias towards positive results. Roni et al gathers data and information from these previous studies and creates a database, as far back as 1937, in order to develop a simpler method of gauging which methods were fruitful in stream restoration and which may not be ideal for future use. This article is intended for anyone or any organization that has any decision making in stream restoration processes so that they may be able to make decisions on what techniques and methods will be used quickly and easily with a better understanding of what the end result may be.

Matt said...

The article, “Effects of habitat suitability on the survival of relocated freshwater mussels” by Hamilton et al. suggests that the habitat in which mussels are relocated into can greatly impact that translocation’s degree of success. They tested this hypothesis by measuring survival and recovery rates of four mussel species (Elliptoideus sloatianus, Elliptio crassidens, Megalonaias boykiniana, and Lampsilis teres) after translocating them to three portions of the Apalachicola River with distinct substrate types (stable sand, limestone/sand, and cobble). The authors determined some species, like Elliptoideus sloatianus and Megalonaias boykiniana, can be substrate specialists and other species, such as Elliptio crassidens, can be habitat generalists or have their survival primarily affected by another factor, such as water depth or velocity. Although in this particular study the authors ignore other variables that should be accounted for before moving individuals, the general goal of this article is to show that selecting appropriate habitat types are important when successfully translocating freshwater mussels from one river site to another.

Hamilton, H., J. B. Box, and R. M. Dorazio. 1997. Effects of habitat suitability on the survival of relocated freshwater mussels. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management. 13: 537-541.

hornyhead said...

Roni et. al (2008) describe the effectiveness of stream restoration in their synthesis article titled “Global Review of the Physical and Biological Effectiveness of Stream Habitat Rehabilitation Techniques.” The authors categorized 345 restoration projects into five categories based on project type including: 1)Road improvements, 2)Riparian rehabilitation, 3)Floodplain connectivity, 4) Instream habitat, and 5)Nutrient enrichment. They found that Road improvements were found to improve the chemical and physical attributes of steams while the biotic response was largely unknown. Riparian rehabilitation, including the sub-categories of riparian silviculture and grazing exclusion, was also found to improve the physical and chemical components and there was some evidence that excluding grazing produced a positive biotic response. Reconnecting the floodplain, which encompassed a wide range of activities, was found to produce positive chemical, physical, and biotic responses. The addition and manipulation of instream habitat resulted in largely unknown consequences, with little study effort being devoted to these types of projects outside of salmonid fisheries. Finally, nutrient addition to increase productivity of oligotrophic streams has been shown to create a positive biotic response among several trophic levels. The long-term implication of these activities has not been determined. Roni et. al (2008) pointed out the deficiency of monitoring for stream restoration projects and the bias of reported projects in North American and Western Europe as compared with the rest of the world as well as the likely bias of reporting only successful results. The purpose of this paper is to provide a contemporary, organized reference to the restoration projects and results and allow readers to understand what is being done and what needs to be done in terms of research and monitoring.

hornyhead said...

Orth and Newcomb reviewed the characterization and management of smallmouth bass habitat in “Certainties and Uncertainties in Defining Essential Habitats for Riverine Smallmouth Bass.” They examined critical habitats for nesting, early development, juvenile, and adult bass as well as the possible role of trophic support habitats in suppoting smallmouth bass populations. The authors concluded that although there seems to be some variability, there are several predictable habitat parameters that smallmouth bass respond to and that these parameters can be used to make management decisions. The purpose of this paper was to synthesize the known information about smallmouth bass habitat requirements to provide a framework for the management of their habitat.

Lee said...

In “Certainties and Uncertainties of Defining Essential Habitats of Riverine Smallmouth Bass” by Orth and Newcomb 2002, smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) are described as a generalist species that often encounters problems based on this classification. Orth and Newcomb examine how habitat preferences change for smallmouth bass based on life stage or activity. For instance, nesting habitat encompasses critical factors, such as velocity, depth, and substrate size; these factors can vary based on site as seen in comparing the WV and the North Anna data. Minimums and maximums exist to limit activity to specific habitats, especially nesting and early development. Yearlings, sub-adults, and adults have a larger range of acceptable habitats, with adults having the most general needs. Feeding behaviors for smallmouths change as they mature from more specific to less specific; larval smallmouths are size selective in choosing chironomids and microcrustaceans to feed on, but after 15 mm, switch to other sources. Finally, this paper shows that smallmouth bass do not fit neatly into the category of being a generalist throughout its life history, but adults fit the most into this generalist role.

Orth, D.J., and T.J. Newcomb. 2002. Certainties and uncertainties of defining essential habitats of riverine smallmouth bass. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. 14 pp.

Lee said...

“Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques” by Roni et al is a 345 paper meta-analysis of restoration projects grouped into 5 categories, 1) road improvements, 2) riparian rehabilitation, 3) floodplain connectivity and rehabilitation, 4) instream habitat improvement, and 5) nutrient enrichment. These categories are used to assess what was examined in each case and their effectiveness; techniques, goals, and limiting factors were laid out for each category; water quality, physical, and biological factors were considered. Roni et al acknowledged the presence of a potential bias in his analysis toward restorations that were successful, as they are more frequently reported and monitored. The authors are forced to focus primarily on North America and specifically western restorations, because they are the most frequent, or at least the most frequently reported. This paper largely brings together the thought that a restoration can be categorized, and from the categorization, provide information to guide future restoration efforts.

Roni, P., K. Hanson, and T. Beechie. 2008. Global review of the physical and biological effectiveness of stream habitat rehabilitation techniques. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 28: 856-890.


Roni et al (2002) provide an ambitious attempt to outline and present a conceptual framework for stream habitat restoration of Pacific Northwest streams. They begin by describing how stream restoration projects should be implemented in a watershed context. They write that watershed processes must be restored for localized restoration projects to be successful. They then review the effectiveness of techniques (more numerous than I will mention) used for restoring various localized habitat inhibiting processes. The authors then provide a conceptual hierarchy for prioritizing specific aspects of stream restoration. The authors provide 3 key points for site-specific restoration: 1) keep in mind the principles of watershed processes; 2) protect existing habitats; and 3) be familiar with the effectiveness of current restoration techniques. The authors end with a caveat that their methods may not be effective on heavily degraded agriculture or urban streams. This appears to be a comprehensive paper for those who wish to restore Pacific Northwestern salmon streams that are not heavily degraded or affected by urbanization.

Rockdarter said...

In the article titled “Habitat Use of Etheostoma maculatum (spotted darter) in Elk River, West Virginia by Osier and Welsh (2007), the authors assert that spotted darters were observed in glide habitats near large rocks and in moderate current velocities. The authors used PCA to analyze habitat availability and used snorkeling observations to quantify habitat use by individuals. The authors present a brief but clear description of individual darter habitat use. The main purpose of the paper is to quantify habitat use in a stream in West Virginia of a darter that is soon to be described as a new species and to provide baseline data for further studies.
Osier, E.A. and S.A. Welch. 2007. Habitat Use of Etheostoma maculatum (spotted darter) in Elk River, West Virginia. Northeastern Naturalist 14(3):447-460.