Special Issue "Stream Ecosystems and Restoration: Linking Bioassessments to Improved Planning and Design Strategies"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. John S. Schwartz Website E-Mail
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Interests: degradation of rivers and streams; hydraulic, hydrological and pollutant transport models; field-based monitoring and assessment applications; degraded watershed conditions from urban development and runoff hydromodification; poor agricultural and timber harvest practices; surface coal mining; atmospheric deposition of acid pollutants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Commonly applied today, stream restoration practices rely mostly on channel morphological changes to create a stable plan and profile using various geomorphic design approaches. Either as the main project objective or secondary, enhancements to physical habitat structures are typically incorporated, such as bank root wads, large woody debris, boulders, pools, and riffles. There is a general premise among practitioners as “build it and they will come” inferring that if these structures are installed biota will recolonize restored reaches; however, this is not always the case and rarely is post-construction biological monitoring sufficiently conducted to prove or disprove. Application of this habitat-centered premise for stream restoration projects suggests pre-construction bioassessments are limited in scope, and exposes a critical research need to improve assessment methodologies better linking degraded ecological conditions to holistic strategies for restoration planning and design. Improved restoration strategies must recognize what fundamental watershed processes have changes from watershed- and reach-scale anthropogenic stressors, and define what constitutes ecological recovery within the context of those stressors. Recovery potential through restoration practices is dependent on many factors, i.e., ecoregion location, land use practices, riparian corridor condition, habitat fragmentation, organism source for recolonization, water quality, etc. This Special Issue of Water aims to compile new information on innovative ecological assessment methodologies that improve stream restoration planning and design strategies, including studies on what ecological indicators best characterize ecological resilience and detect improvements in biotic integrity after restoration, pre- and post-monitoring bioassessment case studies, application of multiple stressor analysis to specify restoration needs, and studies supporting development of ecological design criteria.

Prof. Dr. John S. Schwartz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • stream restoration
  • ecological integrity
  • pre-construction bioassessments
  • biological monitoring
  • multiple stressor analysis

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Use of Ecohydraulic-Based Mesohabitat Classification and Fish Species Traits for Stream Restoration Design
Water 2016, 8(11), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110520 - 08 Nov 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Stream restoration practice typically relies on a geomorphological design approach in which the integration of ecological criteria is limited and generally qualitative, although the most commonly stated project objective is to restore biological integrity by enhancing habitat and water quality. Restoration has achieved [...] Read more.
Stream restoration practice typically relies on a geomorphological design approach in which the integration of ecological criteria is limited and generally qualitative, although the most commonly stated project objective is to restore biological integrity by enhancing habitat and water quality. Restoration has achieved mixed results in terms of ecological successes and it is evident that improved methodologies for assessment and design are needed. A design approach is suggested for mesohabitat restoration based on a review and integration of fundamental processes associated with: (1) lotic ecological concepts; (2) applied geomorphic processes for mesohabitat self-maintenance; (3) multidimensional hydraulics and habitat suitability modeling; (4) species functional traits correlated with fish mesohabitat use; and (5) multi-stage ecohydraulics-based mesohabitat classification. Classification of mesohabitat units demonstrated in this article were based on fish preferences specifically linked to functional trait strategies (i.e., feeding resting, evasion, spawning, and flow refugia), recognizing that habitat preferences shift by season and flow stage. A multi-stage classification scheme developed under this premise provides the basic “building blocks” for ecological design criteria for stream restoration. The scheme was developed for Midwest US prairie streams, but the conceptual framework for mesohabitat classification and functional traits analysis can be applied to other ecoregions. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Generalized Linear Models to Identify Key Hydromorphological and Chemical Variables Determining the Occurrence of Macroinvertebrates in the Guayas River Basin (Ecuador)
Water 2016, 8(7), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8070297 - 18 Jul 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
The biotic integrity of the Guayas River basin in Ecuador is at environmental risk due to extensive anthropogenic activities. We investigated the potential impacts of hydromorphological and chemical variables on biotic integrity using macroinvertebrate-based bioassessments. The bioassessment methods utilized included the Biological Monitoring [...] Read more.
The biotic integrity of the Guayas River basin in Ecuador is at environmental risk due to extensive anthropogenic activities. We investigated the potential impacts of hydromorphological and chemical variables on biotic integrity using macroinvertebrate-based bioassessments. The bioassessment methods utilized included the Biological Monitoring Working Party adapted for Colombia (BMWP-Col) and the average score per taxon (ASPT), via an extensive sampling campaign that was completed throughout the river basin at 120 sampling sites. The BMWP-Col classification ranged from very bad to good, and from probable severe pollution to clean water based on the ASPT scores. Generalized linear models (GLMs) and sensitivity analysis were used to relate the bioassessment index to hydromorphological and chemical variables. It was found that elevation, nitrate-N, sediment angularity, logs, presence of macrophytes, flow velocity, turbidity, bank shape, land use and chlorophyll were the key environmental variables affecting the BMWP-Col. From the analyses, it was observed that the rivers at the upstream higher elevations of the river basin were in better condition compared to lowland systems and that a higher flow velocity was linked to a better BMWP-Col score. The nitrate concentrations were very low in the entire river basin and did not relate to a negative impact on the macroinvertebrate communities. Although the results of the models provided insights into the ecosystem, cross fold model development and validation also showed that there was a level of uncertainty in the outcomes. However, the results of the models and sensitivity analysis can support water management actions to determine and focus on alterable variables, such as the land use at different elevations, monitoring of nitrate and chlorophyll concentrations, macrophyte presence, sediment transport and bank stability. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Long-Term Study of Ecological Impacts of River Channelization on the Population of an Endangered Fish: Lessons Learned for Assessment and Restoration
Water 2016, 8(6), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8060240 - 03 Jun 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Projects to assess environmental impact or restoration success in rivers focus on project-specific questions but can also provide valuable insights for future projects. Both restoration actions and impact assessments can become “adaptive” by using the knowledge gained from long-term monitoring and analysis to [...] Read more.
Projects to assess environmental impact or restoration success in rivers focus on project-specific questions but can also provide valuable insights for future projects. Both restoration actions and impact assessments can become “adaptive” by using the knowledge gained from long-term monitoring and analysis to revise the actions, monitoring, conceptual model, or interpretation of findings so that subsequent actions or assessments are better informed. Assessments of impact or restoration success are especially challenging when the indicators of interest are imperiled species and/or the impacts being addressed are complex. From 1997 to 2015, we worked closely with two federal agencies to monitor habitat availability for and population density of Roanoke logperch (Percina rex), an endangered fish, in a 24-km-long segment of the upper Roanoke River, VA. We primarily used a Before-After-Control-Impact analytical framework to assess potential impacts of a river channelization project on the P. rex population. In this paper, we summarize how our extensive monitoring facilitated the evolution of our (a) conceptual understanding of the ecosystem and fish population dynamics; (b) choices of ecological indicators and analytical tools; and (c) conclusions regarding the magnitude, mechanisms, and significance of observed impacts. Our experience with this case study taught us important lessons about how to adaptively develop and conduct a monitoring program, which we believe are broadly applicable to assessments of environmental impact and restoration success in other rivers. In particular, we learned that (a) pre-treatment planning can enhance monitoring effectiveness, help avoid unforeseen pitfalls, and lead to more robust conclusions; (b) developing adaptable conceptual and analytical models early was crucial to organizing our knowledge, guiding our study design, and analyzing our data; (c) catchment-wide processes that we did not monitor, or initially consider, had profound implications for interpreting our findings; and (d) using multiple analytical frameworks, with varying assumptions, led to clearer interpretation of findings than the use of a single framework alone. Broader integration of these guiding principles into monitoring studies, though potentially challenging, could lead to more scientifically defensible assessments of project effects. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Integrating Limiting-Factors Analysis with Process-Based Restoration to Improve Recovery of Endangered Salmonids in the Pacific Northwest, USA
Water 2016, 8(5), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8050174 - 28 Apr 2016
Cited by 10
Abstract
Two approaches to ecological restoration planning, limiting-factors analysis and process-based restoration, are employed in efforts to recover endangered salmonid species throughout the Pacific Northwest of North America. Limiting-factors analysis seeks to identify physical limitations to fish production that may be addressed by habitat [...] Read more.
Two approaches to ecological restoration planning, limiting-factors analysis and process-based restoration, are employed in efforts to recover endangered salmonid species throughout the Pacific Northwest of North America. Limiting-factors analysis seeks to identify physical limitations to fish production that may be addressed by habitat restoration; it is known as the “Field of Dreams” hypothesis (i.e., if you build it, they will come). Process-based restoration, in contrast, assumes that protection and/or restoration of watershed-scale processes will best achieve self-sustaining habitat features that support salmon populations. Two case studies from the Columbia River basin (northwestern USA) display current efforts to integrate these two restoration approaches to improve salmonid populations. Although these examples both identify site-specific habitat features to construct, they also recognize the importance of supporting key watershed processes to achieve restoration goals. The challenge in advancing the practice of restoration planning is not in simply acknowledging the conceptual benefits of process-based restoration while maintaining a traditional focus on enumerating site-specific conditions and identifying habitat-construction projects, but rather in following process-based guidance during recovery planning and, ultimately, through implementation of on-the-ground actions. We encourage a realignment of the restoration community to truly embrace a process-based, multi-scalar view of the riverine landscape. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Development of Ecogeomorphological (EGM) Stream Design and Assessment Tools for the Piedmont of Alabama, USA
Water 2016, 8(4), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040161 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
Regional data needed for effective stream restoration include hydraulic geometry relationships (i.e., regional curves) and reference channel morphology parameters. Increasingly ecological conditions are being considered when designing, implementing, and assessing restoration efforts. We provide morphology relationships and associated ecological endpoint curves [...] Read more.
Regional data needed for effective stream restoration include hydraulic geometry relationships (i.e., regional curves) and reference channel morphology parameters. Increasingly ecological conditions are being considered when designing, implementing, and assessing restoration efforts. We provide morphology relationships and associated ecological endpoint curves for reference streams in the Alabama piedmont. Twenty-one reference stream reaches were identified in the Tallapoosa drainage of Alabama, ranging from 0.2 to 242 km2 drainage area. Geomorphic surveys were conducted in each stream to measure riffle cross-sections and longitudinal profiles and related to drainage area to develop regional curves. Fish, crayfish, and benthic macroinvertebrates were collected from each surveyed reach and related to drainage area and geomorphic data to provide associated biological community endpoints. Bankfull channel cross-section area, width, mean depth, and estimated discharge were strongly correlated to watershed drainage area, similar to efforts in other areas of the Piedmont ecoregion. Multiple measures of fish assemblages and crayfish size were strongly predicted by drainage area and geomorphic dimensions. Macroinvertebrates showed no taxonomic and limited functional relationships with drainage area and geomorphic dimension. These tools, which integrate geomorphological and ecological conditions, can result in improved stream evaluations and designs increasing the effectiveness of stream restoration projects. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Can Rapid Assessments Predict the Biotic Condition of Restored Streams?
Water 2016, 8(4), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040143 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Five rapid visual stream assessment methods were applied to 65 restored streams in North Carolina, and the results were correlated with measured macroinvertebrate community metrics to evaluate predictive ability. The USEPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocol (RBP), USDA Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP), Peterson’s Riparian [...] Read more.
Five rapid visual stream assessment methods were applied to 65 restored streams in North Carolina, and the results were correlated with measured macroinvertebrate community metrics to evaluate predictive ability. The USEPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocol (RBP), USDA Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP), Peterson’s Riparian Channel and Environmental Inventory (RCE), NCSU Eco-Geomorphological Assessment (EGA), and NCSU Stream Performance Assessment (SPA) were applied by teams with expertise in hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, and aquatic ecology. Predictions of most macroinvertebrate metrics were improved by re-weighting assessment variables using principal component analysis (PCA) and including watershed factors (e.g., size, slope, land use). The correlations of EGA, RCE, SPA and SVAP assessment results to macroinvertebrate metrics were most improved by variable re-weighting using PCA, while the correlations of RBP were most improved by adding watershed parameters. Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) indicates that PCA re-weighting including watershed parameters improves the predictor model for the total number of dominant EPT taxa more than using the sum total raw points for all five assessment methods. To demonstrate the application of the study results, a single-value index was generated for the RBP method using principal component regression (PCR) based on the EPT (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera) taxa metric. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Providing Aquatic Organism Passage in Vertically Unstable Streams
Water 2016, 8(4), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040133 - 05 Apr 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Aquatic organism passage barriers have been identified as one of the key impediments to recovery of salmonids and other migratory aquatic organisms in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. As such, state and federal agencies invest millions of dollars annually to address [...] Read more.
Aquatic organism passage barriers have been identified as one of the key impediments to recovery of salmonids and other migratory aquatic organisms in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. As such, state and federal agencies invest millions of dollars annually to address passage barriers. Because many barriers function as ad hoc grade control structures, their removal and/or replacement can unwittingly set off a cascade of effects that can negatively impact the very habitat and passage that project proponents seek to improve. The resultant vertical instability can result in a suite of effects that range from floodplain disconnection and loss of backwater and side channel habitat, to increased levels of turbidity. Risk assessment, including an evaluation of both the stage of stream evolution and a longitudinal profile analysis, provides a framework for determining if grade control is warranted, and if so, what type of structure is most geomorphically appropriate. Potential structures include placement of large wood and roughness elements, and constructed riffles, step-pools, and cascades. The use of structure types that mimic natural reach scale geomorphic analogues should result in improved aquatic organism passage, increased structural resilience, and reduced maintenance. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Water Quality Assessment of Streams and Wetlands in a Fast Growing East African City
Water 2016, 8(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8040123 - 29 Mar 2016
Cited by 16
Abstract
The combination of rapid urbanization, industrialization, population growth, and low environmental awareness poses a major threat to worldwide valuable freshwater resources, which provide important ecosystem services to humans. There is an urgent need to monitor and assess these resources, as this information is [...] Read more.
The combination of rapid urbanization, industrialization, population growth, and low environmental awareness poses a major threat to worldwide valuable freshwater resources, which provide important ecosystem services to humans. There is an urgent need to monitor and assess these resources, as this information is indispensable for sustainable decision-making and management. In this context, we analyzed the chemical and ecological water quality of the riverine environment of a fast growing city in Southwest Ethiopia for which we proposed possible remediation options that were evaluated with an empirical model. The chemical and ecological water quality was assessed at 53 sampling locations using the oxygen Prati index and the ETHbios, which is a biotic index based on macroinvertebrates. In addition, a microbiological analysis was performed to estimate the degree of fecal contamination. Finally, we analyzed the relationship between the oxygen content and the organic pollution to simulate the effect of organics removal from waste streams on the chemical water quality. Our results showed that the average values for dissolved oxygen (4.2 mg DO·L−1) and nutrients (0.9 mg oPO43−·L−1 and 12.8 mg TAN·L−1) exceeded international standards. Moreover, high turbidity levels revealed that land erosion is a severe problem in the region. Along the rivers, a significant increase in oxygen consumption and in nutrient concentrations was observed, indicating organic pollution originating from different diffuse and point sources of pollution. The lack of proper sanitation also led to exceedingly high abundances of fecal coliforms in the surface water (>320 MPN·mL−1). However, fecal contamination was strongly reduced (>92%) after the polluted river water passed Boye wetland, indicating the purification potential of natural wetlands and the importance of conserving and protecting those ecosystems. The simulation results of the model showed that water quality could be substantially improved if municipal, industrial, and institutional wastewater was efficiently collected and transported to a treatment facility. Waste stabilization ponds and constructed wetlands are highly promising techniques, as they provide a cheap, effective, reliable, and sustainable way to purify wastewater. It is advised that the environmental awareness of the people via sensitization, education, and law enforcement is increased, as this is essential for sustainable development. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Providing Multiple-Channel Sections in Dredging Activities to Improve Fish Habitat Environments
Water 2016, 8(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8020036 - 22 Jan 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
After Typhoon Morakot, dredging engineering was conducted while taking the safety of humans and structures into consideration, but partial stream reaches were formed in the multiple-channel sections in Cishan Stream because of anthropogenic and natural influences. This study mainly explores the distribution of [...] Read more.
After Typhoon Morakot, dredging engineering was conducted while taking the safety of humans and structures into consideration, but partial stream reaches were formed in the multiple-channel sections in Cishan Stream because of anthropogenic and natural influences. This study mainly explores the distribution of each fish species in both the multiple- and single-channel sections in the Cishan Stream. Parts of the environments did not exhibit significant differences according to a one-way ANOVA comparing the multiple- and single-channel sections, but certain areas of the multiple-channel sections had more diverse habitats. Each fish species was widely distributed by non-metric multidimensional scaling in the multiple-channel sections as compared to those in the single-channel sections. In addition, according to the principal component analysis, each fish species has a preferred environment, and all of them have a wide choice of habitat environments in the multiple-channel sections. Finally, the existence of multiple-channel sections could significantly affect the existence of the fish species under consideration in this study. However, no environmental factors were found to have an influence on fish species in the single-channel sections, with the exception of Rhinogobius nantaiensis. The results show that providing multiple-channel sections in dredging activities could improve fish habitat environments. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Evaluating Stream Restoration Projects: What Do We Learn from Monitoring?
Water 2017, 9(3), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030174 - 28 Feb 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
Two decades since calls for stream restoration projects to be scientifically assessed, most projects are still unevaluated, and conducted evaluations yield ambiguous results. Even after these decades of investigation, do we know how to define and measure success? We systematically reviewed 26 studies [...] Read more.
Two decades since calls for stream restoration projects to be scientifically assessed, most projects are still unevaluated, and conducted evaluations yield ambiguous results. Even after these decades of investigation, do we know how to define and measure success? We systematically reviewed 26 studies of stream restoration projects that used macroinvertebrate indicators to assess the success of habitat heterogeneity restoration projects. All 26 studies were previously included in two meta-analyses that sought to assess whether restoration programs were succeeding. By contrast, our review focuses on the evaluations themselves, and asks what exactly we are measuring and learning from these evaluations. All 26 studies used taxonomic diversity, richness, or abundance of invertebrates as biological measures of success, but none presented explicit arguments why those metrics were relevant measures of success for the restoration projects. Although changes in biodiversity may reflect overall ecological condition at the regional or global scale, in the context of reach-scale habitat restoration, more abundance and diversity may not necessarily be better. While all 26 studies sought to evaluate the biotic response to habitat heterogeneity enhancement projects, about half of the studies (46%) explicitly measured habitat alteration, and 31% used visual estimates of grain size or subjectively judged ‘habitat quality’ from protocols ill-suited for the purpose. Although the goal of all 26 projects was to increase habitat heterogeneity, 31% of the studies either sampled only riffles or did not specify the habitats sampled. One-third of the studies (35%) used reference ecosystems to define target conditions. After 20 years of stream restoration evaluation, more work remains for the restoration community to identify appropriate measures of success and to coordinate monitoring so that evaluations are at a scale capable of detecting ecosystem change. Full article
Back to TopTop