Abstract: Closing Plenary Session  10:30 am (BACK)
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How Mitigation Banking Can Advance Stream Restoration

Adam Riggsbee
RiverBank Ecosystems
Austin, TX

Stream restoration can be costly and fraught with risks, often requiring extensive earthwork and engineering in environments with numerous constraints, multiple landowners and little to no empirical data informing design and construction. While the art and science of stream restoration have been evolving for several years nationally, such development in our region has been limited, as relatively few projects have been completed. Further limiting regional development, post-construction monitoring is often subjective, anecdotal, and rarely made publically available. Recent changes in national regulations and regional policies governing compensatory mitigation under the Clean Water Act (CWA) represent an opportunity for advancing the field regionally. If appropriately enforced, these policies should significantly increase demand for stream restoration at various scales. By establishing quantifiable geomorphic performance standards as well as annual and event-related monitoring and reporting requirements, these policies will lead to more effective and objective evaluations. This presentation will present an overview of national regulations, regional policies and RIBITS/permit data to show how stream restoration demand has increased regionally in the last few years. The presentation will then explain how regional practitioners can use CWA mitigation project information to advance the art and science of stream restoration in the Southwest.