Date: May 28, 1996
Creator: Stanford, J.A.; Frissell, C.A.; Ward, J.V.; Liss, W.J.; Coutant, C.C.; Williams, R.N. et al.
Description: Large catchment basins may be viewed as ecosystems with interactive natural and cultural attributes. Stream regulation severs ecological connectivity between channels and flood plains by reducing the range of natural flow and temperature variation, reduces the capacity of the ecosystem to sustain native biodiversity and bioproduction and promotes proliferation of non-native biota. However, regulated rivers regain normative attributes, which promote recovery of native biota, as distance from the dam increases and in relation to the mode of regulation. Therefore, reregulation of flow and temperature to normative pattern, coupled with elimination of pollutants and constrainment of nonnative biota, can naturally restore damaged habitats from headwaters to mouth. The expectation is rapid recovery of depressed populations of native species. The protocol requires: restoration of seasonal temperature patterns; restoration of peak flows needed to reconnect and periodically reconfigure channel and floodplain habitats; stabilization of base flows to revitalize the shallow water habitats; maximization of dam passage to allow restoration of metapopulation structure; change in the management belief system to rely on natural habitat restoration as opposed to artificial propagation, installation of artificial instream structures (river engineering) and artificial food web control; and, practice of adaptive ecosystem management.
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