Discover Key Steps to Creating Successful Ecological Restoration Projects

Discover Key Steps to Creating Successful Ecological Restoration Projects

Lisa McIntosh, a Technical Manager at Woodard & Curran, recently published an article in the April 2016 issue of Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM), a respected scientific journal from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). This issue of the IEAM includes six articles on various aspects of restoration at contaminated sites in a special series titled, “Restoration of Impaired Ecosystems: An Ounce of Prevention or a Pound of Cure?” These open-access articles are the culmination of a joint workshop on ecological restoration organized by SETAC and the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), held June 2014 in Jackson, Wyoming, that focused on advancing the practice of restoring ecosystems that have been contaminated or impaired from industrial activities.

The article, “Integrated Risk and Recovery Monitoring of Ecosystem Restorations on Contaminated Sites,” which Lisa co-authored with five other experts in the field, describes how human and ecological risk and recovery are interrelated dynamic conditions that change as remediation and restoration activities at a contaminated site progress through implementation into long-term management and ecosystem maturation. As such, effective monitoring plans are designed concurrently with restoration plan development and implementation. When restoration activities end, an analysis should not only detail risk reduction and restoration achievements but also unrealized objectives, which will improve the planning of future restoration efforts and “strengthen the evidence base for quantifying injuries and damages at other sites in the future.”

Lisa is a skilled colleague who brings more than 18 years of experience to her specialization in hazardous waste site risk assessment and wetland science. I highly recommend her and her colleagues’ IEAM paper, as it aptly describes the complexity of crafting a monitoring plan that is measured by the specifics of the planned restoration.

If you’re interested in reading more about the steps to creating successful ecological restoration projects, the two of us recently produced a brief whitepaper that outlines one of the five keys to a successful ecological restoration project: knowing the background (or “local”) conditions of your site. Background conditions are essentially the levels of various chemicals and compounds present in the environment due to natural processes or from off-site sources. Correctly identifying background conditions can mean the difference between a successful project and unnecessary expense and regulatory burden. 

To help set you on the right path to a successful ecological restoration project, download this free whitepaper: A River Runs through It: Defining Background Conditions in Support of Site Assessment.

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