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RESTORED RIPARIAN BUFFERS AS TOOLS FOR ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION IN THE MAIA PROCESSES, ENDPOINTS, AND MEASURES OF SUCCESS FOR WATER, SOIL, FLORA AND FAUNA
Jorgensen*, E E., T J. Canfield*, AND F. W. Kutz*. RESTORED RIPARIAN BUFFERS AS TOOLS FOR ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION IN THE MAIA PROCESSES, ENDPOINTS, AND MEASURES OF SUCCESS FOR WATER, SOIL, FLORA AND FAUNA. MAIA Working Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, 11/30-12/2/1998.
Riparian buffer restorations are used as management tools to produce favorable water quality impacts, moreover the basis for riparian buffers as an instrument of water quality restoration rests on a relatively firm foundation. However, the extent to which buffers can restore riparian ecosystems; their functionality and species composition, are essentially unknown. In light of the foregoing, two broad areas of research are indicated. First, data are needed to document the relative effectiveness of riparian buffers that differ according to width, length, and plant species composition. These questions, of managing buffer dimension and species composition for functionality, are of central importance even when attenuation of nutrient and sediment loads alone are considered. Second, where ecosystem restoration is the goal, effects to in-stream and terrestrial riparian biota need to be considered. Relatedly, the effects of the restoration on the landscape need to be considered. Particularly, at what rate do the effects of the riparian buffer on in-stream water quality, biota, and habitat diminish downstream from restored sites? Answers to these important questions are needed, for streams and watersheds of different size and for areas of differing soil type within watersheds. USEPA-NRMRL has initiated a research project that will document the potential for buffers to restore riparian ecosystems; focusing on water quality effects but also, importantly, documenting effects on biota. The ultimate goal of research projects developed under this paradigm of ecosystem restoration is to develop data that are needed to implement riparian buffer restorations in the MAIA and elsewhere.