Office of Research and Development Publications

Attributes of Successful Actions to Restore Lakes and Estuaries Degraded by Nutrient Pollution

Citation:

Hagy, Jim AND C. Gross. Attributes of Successful Actions to Restore Lakes and Estuaries Degraded by Nutrient Pollution. Gulf Estuarine Research Society (GERS) Fall 2016 Meeting, Pensacola Beach, FL, November 03 - 05, 2016.

Impact/Purpose:

Research was conducted to better understand, using a scientific approach, the factors that led to successful policy actions to recover aquatic ecosystems (lakes and estuaries) from nutrient pollution. The work was conducted as part a research synthesis project related to nutrient management.

Description:

As more success is achieved restoring lakes and estuaries from nutrient pollution, there is increased opportunity to evaluate the scientific, social, and policy factors associated with achieving restoration goals. We examined case studies where deliberate actions to reduce nutrient pollution resulted in ecological recovery. Cases were identified from scientific literature meeting the following: (1) scientific evidence of nutrient pollution; (2) restoration actions taken to mitigate nutrient pollution; and (3) documented ecological improvement. We identified 9 estuaries and 7 lakes spanning countries, climatic regions, physical types, depths, and watershed areas. Among these 8 achieved improvements short of stated restoration goals, 8 were successful initially, but then condition declined and 3 achieved their goals fully. We examined each case to identify both common attributes of nutrient management, grouped into ‘themes’, and the variations on those attributes, which were coded into categorical variables and examined using multiple correspondence analysis (MCA). MCA results suggested that the attributes most associated with achieving restoration goals include: (1) leadership by a dedicated watershed management agency; (2) governance through a bottom-up collaborative process; (3) a strategy that set numeric targets based on a specific ecological goal; and (4) actions to reduce nutrient loads from all sources. While our study did not provide a comprehensive road map to successful nutrient management, it suggested attributes that could be emulated in future efforts. The quantitative approach that was applied could be used to provide ongoing analysis as new examples of nutrient management success emerge.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 11/04/2016
Record Last Revised: 11/22/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 332231

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION