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Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy
Planning a restoration project must start with specifying the project mission, goals, and objectives. Goals should be prioritized so that project designers and evaluators have a clear understanding of their relative importance. In addition to specifying goals, objectives, and performance indicators, project managers and designers need to propose a monitoring and assessment program that is appropriate in scale as well as in sampling frequency and intensity to measure the performance indicators accurately and reliably, and thereby assess progress toward the project's objectives, goals, and mission. Postproject evaluation will enable scientists to determine when and to what degree the system has become self-maintaining and whether or not the restoration attempt was effective.
Monitoring of a restoration effort should include both structural (state) and functional (process) attributes, and should not be restricted to one level of biological organization. Monitoring of attributes at population, community, ecosystem, and landscape levels is appropriate in a restoration effort.
By far the most widespread problem facing lakes and reservoirs is agricultural nonpoint runoff of silt and associated nutrients and pesticides. Lakes often do not cleanse or restore themselves. They are sinks for incoming contaminants that recycle and maintain the impaired conditions. Federal drinking water standards, for example, cannot be met, except with great difficulty and expense, unless degraded lakes and reservoirs are improved and then protected from further contamination.
A net gain over the next 20 years of 2 million acres of restored lakes, out of the current 4.3 million acres of degraded lakes, is an achievable goal. By the year 2000, it is recommended that a minimum of 1 million acres of lakes be restored. The costs for research, development, and technical guidance are federal responsibilities. The costs for actual restorations should be borne by federal and nonfederal sources, working through individual state lake programs. The committee realizes that the goals for the restoration of lakes should be realistic and tailored to individual regions of the country. Further development of project selection, goal setting, and evaluation techniques based on the concept of "ecoregions" as explained in Chapter 4 should be encouraged and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
All states have degraded lakes, and each state should develop restoration