Scientists take major step to improve river restoration efforts

April 28, 2005

PHILADELPHIA -- A group of the nation's leading river scientists, including Dr. David Hart and Jamie Carr of The Academy of Natural Science's Patrick Center for Environmental Research, has taken an important step to propel the country's $1 billion-per-year river-restoration movement from an art to a science.

A policy paper, appearing in the April 29 edition of the journal Science, details key results from the first comprehensive effort to evaluate the science and practice of river restoration throughout the nation.

The group of 25 scientists has developed a database of 37,099 restoration projects, and have used it to draw conclusions about regional and national trends in the numbers and types of projects being performed, along with their costs and environmental benefits. Although restoration is clearly beneficial to the health of streams and rivers, one key finding is that much more work needs to be done to evaluate the environmental benefits of different restoration practices.

"River restoration" applies to activities such as reforesting riverbanks to curb erosion, recreating the natural river channel to reduce downstream flooding, restoring wetlands to filter pollution, and removing dams to allow fish to migrate freely up and downstream. Restoring the natural form and function of rivers and streams helps reverse a decline in water quality.

Pennsylvania is a leader in removing old and obsolete dams from rivers to improve their health. One restoration "success story" occurred in Pottstown, Pa., in 2000, when a small dam was removed from Manatawny Creek. Monitoring by The Academy of Natural Sciences and its partners has yielded one of the first comprehensive assessments of the large-scale physical, chemical and biological changes in a river system following dam removal.

Some 30 more are scheduled for removal in the next two years. "Dam removal can be a very effective method of improving river health, but additional studies are needed to predict how different rivers will respond to this novel restoration practice," Hart said.

According to the authors of the Science paper, at least $14 billion has been invested in river restoration since 1990. The average cost per project is just $45,000. California, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and the Pacific Northwest are hotspots of restoration work.

"River restoration is evolving from an art into a science. A critical first step in this evolution has been to document what is being done in the name of river restoration," said Dr. Emily Bernhardt, lead author of the paper.

It's no mystery why river restoration is booming," said Andrew Fahlund, Vice President for Protection and Restoration at American Rivers. "Rivers in good condition more readily meet the needs of the surrounding community than polluted and degraded rivers."
-end-
For more information, visit
http://www.acnatsci.org/research/pcer/manatawny.html
http://www.nrrss.umd.edu/press.htm
http://www.nrrss.umd.edu/NRRSS_INDEX.htm
http://www.americanrivers.org/nrrss

The Academy is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-12 and students with college I.D., $8.25 for seniors and military personnel, and free for children under 3.

The Academy of Natural Sciences, an international museum of natural history operating since 1812, undertakes research and public education that focuses on the environment and its diverse species. The mission of the Academy is to create the basis for a healthy and sustainable planet through exploration, research and education.

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.