Ecological, Demographic, and Economic Evaluation of Opportunities and Constraints for Riparian RestorationEPA Grant Number: R825797
Title: Ecological, Demographic, and Economic Evaluation of Opportunities and Constraints for Riparian Restoration
Investigators: Gregory, Stanley V. , Hulse, David , Landers, Dixon , Whitelaw, E.
Institution: Oregon State University , University of Oregon
Current Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 1998 through May 31, 2001
Project Amount: $899,999
RFA: Ecosystem Restoration (1997) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management , Ecosystems
This proposal presents a multidisciplinary approach for 1) balancing ecological needs for restoration with social constraints on where and how to invest in restoration and 2) efficiently using scarce economic resources, incentives, and regulatory authority to accomplish ecological and economic goals. The flindamental objective of the proposed research is to develop and demonstrate an integrated system for identifying areas of greater ecological, demographic, and economic potential for restoration of riparian areas.
We developed three primary hypotheses: 1) Species richness for vegetation, birds, and fish will be greatest in tributary junction environments and reaches with side channels and alcoves. Species richness will be lowest in straight simple channels. 2) The ecological potential for riparian restoration physical and biotic change) will be greatest in areas that are historically prone to physical change. 3) Lands with high property values, high economic yields for human use, or high subsidies and externalities will present greater constraints to riparian restoration. These constraints may be overcome, but only through greater investment per unit area restored.
We will simultaneously I) coordinate the research with restoration projects on both state and private lands along the Willamette River in Oregon, 2) conduct field measurements of the basis ecological principles, 3) develop a context for diagnosing the ecological potential for restoration from historical maps and classification of riparian vegetation from satellite data, and 4) assess relative strengths of economic and demographic factors affecting the likelihood that meaningful restoration will take place.
Fundamental assumptions of the analysis will be tested through empirical field observations of the diversity of fish, birds, and wildlife in tributary junctions, complex channels, and single channels. Economic and demographic analysis will be based on current records in the Willamette Basin. Ecological analysis will be based on historical maps, vegetation classification from satellite data, wildlife habitat model, and GIS spatial analysis.
Potential for increased ecological flinction of candidate sites for restoration will be identified through analyses of 1) Historical Conditions and Change and the 2) Patterns of Biological Diversity. Economic constraints and incentives for restoration will be identified by analyses of the 3) Economic and Demographic Patterns and 4) Economic Constraints and Incentives. Potential lands along the Willamette River will be classified according to these four major typologies to identify areas with high potential for ecological benefit and low demographic and economic resistance for allocating land to restoration.
Using spatial analysis, we can identify areas with high potential for ecological recovery and low social resistance to committing lands and resources to restoration. Equally important, we can identify areas with low potential for ecological responses and high social resistance to restoration. In these areas, we benefit little and long-term success is unlikely. This approach enhances our ability to explore mechanisms for shifting potential of intermediate lands. This research will improve effectiveness of riparian restoration and increase community involvement in the Willamette River basin, thereby reducing risk of loss of critical species, habitats, or ecosystem functions.