Considerations for developing a model for measuring aquatic ecosystem improvement from restoration of urban development
Lewallen, E. Aylin
Leonard, Paul M.
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Many watershed improvement projects focus on reducing erosion potential and reducing storm flow peak discharges. The costs of these projects are easily determined, but quantification of benefits has been slower to develop. The benefits on instream aquatic habitat from these types of projects (i.e., storm water detention structures, constructed wetlands within the floodplain, natural channel restoration, stream bank and buffer improvements, etc.) are usually not considered (but should) as part of evaluating the benefits provided by each project. This paper will describe considerations that could be taken when developing a benefits model for aquatic ecosystem improvement from restoration projects. The steps of developing such a model include (Figure 1): • Understanding how urbanization affects the flow regime and water quality of stream systems; • Understanding what form urbanization is occurring; • Understanding the biological response to urbanization; and • Developing a benefits model that has measurable factors of impacts, defensible criteria, and quantitative or qualitative data to measure benefits.