overenrichment in the water column but giving little consideration to sedimentation or loss of aquatic habitat. Similarly, stream restoration efforts often concentrate on fisheries without regard for the wildlife values of riparian zone vegetation. Wetland restoration efforts often focus on revegetation while paying little attention to deep-water zones.
The purpose of this report is to suggest and analyze strategies for repairing past and ongoing damage to aquatic ecosystems from all types of anthropogenic activities. The loss or alteration of a large percentage of lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands and of their associated vital ecological functions has a major effect both on the quality of life and on carrying capacities for human societies. These ecosystems provide a variety of ecological services of value to society. To ensure their viability for sustained, long-term use, freshwater ecosystems require not only protection from pollutants but also restoration and informed management.
The thesis of this report is that restoring altered, damaged, or destroyed lakes, rivers, and wetlands is a high-priority task at least as urgent as protecting water quality through abatement of pollution from point and nonpoint sources. Indeed these two activities are not dissociated, but rather are part of a continuum that includes both protection from pollution, and restoration and management. Restoration is essential if per capita ecosystem service levels are to remain constant while the global human population increases.
This report describes the status and functions of surface water ecosystems; the effectiveness of aquatic restoration efforts; the technology associated with those efforts; and the kinds of research, policy, management, and institutional changes required for successful restoration Even if a major national effort is made to restore aquatic ecosystems, their protection and management will require continued advances in point and nonpoint pollution abatement. In short, the first objective should be to ensure no net loss of the quality of aquatic ecosystems, followed by efforts to increase the number of robust, self-maintaining aquatic ecosystems. Management of aquatic ecosystems will require intensive monitoring, as well as increased interaction and cooperation among national agencies concerned with air, water, wildlife, soil, agriculture, forestry, and urban planning and development.
Restoration is increasingly becoming an integral part of a national effort to improve water quality and the ecology of aquatic ecosystems. In 1988, the Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) discussed