removal from the waters and sediments; and (3) revegetating areas and reintroducing native species. Management may mean manipulation of the structure of the existing aquatic ecosystem, an engineering problem illustrated in the case of the Kissimmee River in Florida (see case study, Appendix A).
It is essential to place physical restoration of lakes, wetlands, and rivers on a par with the current commitments to chemical and biological restoration activities. Physical restoration of aquatic ecosystems is in many cases the most cost-effective strategy for meeting the increasing public demand for certain kinds of services, including clean water without excessive loadings of sediments and nutrients; populations of fish, ducks, wading birds, shorebirds, and other wildlife; contact and noncontact aquatic recreation; and flood control and natural landscape amenities.
However, the current structure of programs and policies is fragmented and may not adequately approach restoration as a challenge requiring management of a whole system. Management responsibilities and disciplinary expertise are separated according to components of the aquatic ecosystem. Agencies and scientists focus separately on wetlands, river hydrology, or wastewater management, or best management practices for nonpoint source control. Rarely is the focus on aquatic ecosystems as a unit.
The focus during the early years of this century on the river basin as a unit of planning needs to be reinvented with new goals and new approaches to make it work more effectively than it did in the past. In making this effort the decline in federal domination of water management must be acknowledged. Indeed, there is no need to reestablish this domination: leadership can now be shared with the states. However, federal programs have been significant determinants of past modifications to aquatic ecosystems, and this past requires a continuing federal presence and further reforms at the federal level as the new era of restoration is approached. In his budget message for 1991, President Bush stated,
[T]oday, a consensus is emerging in our society: investments in maintaining and restoring the health of the environment can now be seen as responsible investments for the future.
This presidential sentiment demands a national, but not solely federal, aquatic ecosystem restoration strategy to meet the changing social demands on aquatic resources. Of course, restoration is not warranted simply because it recreates a historic condition. At the most general level, restoration is justified whenever restored ecosystem processes serve socially desired goals for human or ecologic functions