Developing Methods and Tools for Watershed Restoration: Design, Implementation, and Assessment in the Willamette Basin, Oregon

EPA Grant Number: R827146
Title: Developing Methods and Tools for Watershed Restoration: Design, Implementation, and Assessment in the Willamette Basin, Oregon
Investigators: Bolte, John P. , Santelmann, Mary , Erickson, Dana C. , Jepson, Paul C. , Gilden, Jennifer D. , Li, Judith L. , Smith, Steven P. , Smith, Courtland , Adamus, Paul , Polasky, Stephen , Gries, Sue
Current Investigators: Bolte, John P. , Santelmann, Mary , Jepson, Paul C. , Li, Judith L. , Smith, Courtland
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 1998 through September 30, 2001 (Extended to September 30, 2002)
Project Amount: $809,993
RFA: Water and Watersheds (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Water and Watersheds


The overall objective of this study is to refine integrate models of watershed function and economic characterizations of restoration options with stakeholder-determined constraints and priorities to provide a tool for stakeholders to identify feasible restoration strategies and evaluate the ecological and economic effectiveness of these strategies at addressing watershed-level function.


We proposed to design, implement and evaluate a framework for assisting community watershed restoration groups in prioritizing and evaluating restoration scenarios at a watershed scale. The approach proposed involves integrating 1) models of hydrology, water quality, biodiversity, and habitat quality at the watershed scale, 2) socioeconomic analyses of stakeholder constraints on feasible restoration options and 3) economic analysis of restoration options to develop a GIS-based decision tool for generating and evaluating restoration strategies consistent with stakeholder goals. The approach will be developed and applied in cooperation with two watershed councils representing diverse watershed types and disturbance levels to evaluate the effectiveness and transferability of the methodology between distinct ecological and economic systems.

The proposed framework will apply design heuristics embodying ecological and social constraints to allocate restoration activities to elements of the landscape to generate restoration options. It will then evaluate these options using ecological models of animal and plant species richness, composition, and abundance, population persistence, and water quality. The success of the tool for addressing stakeholder needs and its impact on stakeholder decision making will be explicitly evaluated using sociological and applied anthropological methods.

Expected Results:

The project will produce a methodology and a software tool for community groups and planners to evaluate and prioritize restoration options. Resulting datasets, models and results will be made available for public access through development of a web site. We additionally expect to publish results of this project as technical contributions to the fields of plant and animal ecology, conservation biology, cultural anthropology, and decision support studies.

Estimated Improvement in Risk Assessment or Risk Management: The framework we develop will provide community groups, resource managers, planners, public officials, and others with an explicit and soundly science-based set of techniques for considering and evaluating from ecological, economic and sociological perspectives possibilities for the restoration of ecological systems at both site and landscape scales.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 32 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

decision making, community-based, cost-benefit, socio-economic, modeling, wetlands, ecosystems, land use planning, integrated assessment, habitat., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Water & Watershed, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, State, Restoration, Economics, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Monitoring/Modeling, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, Watersheds, Ecological Indicators, risk assessment, stakeholder groups, biodiversity, community involvement, Oregon, decision making, conservation, socioeconomics, cost benefit, integrated assessment, ecological recovery, web site development, aquatic ecosystems, GIS, water quality, economic, environmental rehabilitation, ecology assessment models, public policy, socioeconomic, community values, land use, stakeholder feedback, watershed restoration, OR

Relevant Websites:

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001
  • Final Report