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Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy
identifiable point sources such as municipal and industrial wastewater, from nonpoint degradation, from urban and agricultural runoff within a lake's watershed, and from more insidious long-range atmospheric transport of contaminants. Major categories of stresses include excessive eutrophication from nutrient and organic matter loadings; siltation from inadequate erosion control in agricultural, construction, logging, and mining activities; introduction of exotic species; acidification from atmospheric sources and acid mine drainage; and contamination by toxic (or potentially toxic) metals such as mercury and organic compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticides. In addition, physical changes at the land-lake interface (e.g., draining of riparian wetlands) and hydrologic manipulations (e.g., damming outlets to stabilize water levels) also have major impacts on the structure and functioning of lake ecosystems.
No lake in the United States is entirely free from such stresses, but the stresses are not always severe enough to impair lake ecosystems or their usefulness for human activities. Nonetheless, thousands of U.S. lakes (and reservoirs) covering several million acres of water surface have become degraded to the extent that some type of activity is necessary to make them more usable resources and ecosystems.
Lake restoration is a relatively recent activity. Historically, the term restoration has been applied broadly in lake management to an array of actions aimed at improving lake conditions for designated human uses (e.g., contact recreation, fishing, water supply). Return of a lake to its pristine condition has not been an explicit goal of most lake restoration projects, although these actions often improve some aspects of a lake's ecological attributes. As such, most so-called lake restoration projects are actually rehabilitation efforts (in the sense of the definitions in Chapter 1), and many are merely designed to manage (mitigate) undesirable consequences of human perturbations. For reasons of historical precedence, a broader definition of the term restoration is used in this chapter, but a distinction is made between methods that improve ecosystem structure and function (restoration in the broad sense) and methods that merely manage the symptoms of stress. Lake restoration began in the United States about 20 years ago, primarily in response to problems of nutrient overenrichment. A lake improvement program, the Clean Lakes Program was established in 1975 within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Section 314 of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (P.L. 92-500). Between 1975 and 1985, federal funds were provided for Clean Lakes projects on 313 lakes in 47 states and Puerto Rico; 87 percent of the Clean Lakes funds have been used for lake improvement projects (U.S. EPA, 1985). Matching state and/or local