Box 6.5 Ways to Reduce Risks Of Failure In Wetland Restoration Projects

  • Adherence to goal of no net loss in wetland acreage and function

  • More detailed assessment of function prior to wetland damage or destruction

  • More detailed plans

  • Higher standards for success

  • More expertise

  • Larger buffers

  • More detailed and longer-term surveillance and monitoring

  • Greater midcourse correction capability

  • Longer-term and greater maintenance responsibilities

  • More detailed reports with broader distribution

  • Larger bonds

  • Complete restoration or creation before allowing damages (in mitigation projects)

  • Require 3:1, 5:1, or 10:1 habitat replacement ratios (depending on functional value of habitat loss) when projects are part of compensatory mitigation)

and to provide for mid-course corrections if plans fail to achieve their intended results; and no attempt is made to relate individual, piecemeal restoration efforts to broader hydrologic and ecosystem management goals.

The standards for "worthwhile efforts" will differ in nonregulatory and regulatory contexts. In rural, agricultural areas, the cessation of agriculture in floodplains and potholes will be worthwhile, even if preagricultural plant and animal communities are not restored. An attempt to achieve 100 percent success in a restoration is a desirable, but not essential, criterion for undertaking projects. Such projects would be considered more successful if measures were taken to recreate native ecosystems. The important decision is to begin the highly worthwhile process of restoring wetlands.

In the regulatory context, and particularly in highly disturbed urban settings, what is worthwhile depends entirely on the functions retained by degraded sites and on the likelihood that a more desirable system can be provided. It must be ensured that the restored system will provide more functions than were carried out before



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