Across the Pacific Northwest, both public and private agents are working to improve riverine habitat for a variety of reasons, including improving conditions for threatened and endangered salmon. These projects are moving forward with little or no knowledge of specific linkages between restoration actions and the responses of target species. Targeted effectiveness monitoring of these actions is required to redress this lack of mechanistic understanding, but such monitoring is in turn dependant on detailed restoration information such as implementation monitoring. We created a standardized data dictionary of project types now being applied throughout the region (now RPA 73 in the FCRPS Biop) to assemble a standardized database of restoration projects. The database was designed specifically to address the needs of regional monitoring programs that evaluate the effectiveness of restoration actions.
The database currently (2013) contains spatially referenced, project-level data on over 31,000 restoration actions initiated at over 51,000 locations in the last 15 years (98% of projects report start or end dates in the last 15 years) in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Sixty percent of projects report cost. The total cost for projects in the database with cost information is over 2 billion dollars.
Data sources include federal, state, local, non-governmental organization, and tribal contributors. The process of database production identified difficulties in the design of regional project tracking systems. The technical design issues range from low-level information such as what defines a project or a location, to high-level issues that include data validation and legalities of inter-agency data sharing. The database will inform efficient monitoring design, effectiveness assessments, and restoration project planning and prioritization. We are currently focusing on comparing completed restoration projects with data sets of ecological need including standardizing the way limiting factors and habitat concerns are described in salmon recovery plans and then asking if projects are being placed to address these ecological needs.
Barnas, K., S. L. Katz. 2010. The challenges of tracking habitat restoration at various spatial scales. Fisheries, 35(5): 232-241.
Bernhardt, E. S., M. A. Palmer, J. D. Allan, G. Alexander, K. Barnas, S. Brooks, J. Carr, S. Clayton, C. Dahm, J. Follstad-Shah, D. Galat, S. Gloss, P. Goodwin, D. Hart, B. Hassett, R. Jenkinson, S. L. Katz, G. M. Kondolf, P. S. Lake, R. Lave, J. L. Meyer, T. K. O'Donnell, L. Pagano, B. Powell, E. Sudduth. 2005. Synthesizing U.S. river restoration efforts. Science, 308(5722):636-637.
Jenkinson, R., K. Barnas, J. Braatne, E. S. Bernhardt, M. A. Palmer, J. D. Allan, NRRSS. 2006. Stream restoration databases and case studies: a guide to information resources and their utility in advancing the science and practice of restoration. Restoration Ecology, 14:177-186.
Katz, SL., Barnas, K, Hicks, R. Cowen, J. and R. Jenkinson, 2007. Freshwater habitat restoration in the Pacific Northwest: a decade's investment in habitat improvement. Restoration Ecology, 15:494-505.
Rumps, J., Katz SL., Barnas, K., Morehead, M. and R. Jenkinson, 2007. Stream restoration in the Pacific Northwest: Analysis of interviews with project managers. Restoration Ecology, 15:506-515.