Biological processes are a significant feature in watersheds. Plant and animal communities that are present in watersheds contribute to its vitality and productivity. Integrated watershed management provides an opportunity to inventory the biota of the watershed, so that we can better understand the interrelationships between the species and their abiotic environment. Human activities lead to the degradation of streams and watersheds and impair their use for biota (including humans). Habitat loss and degradation are considered to be the leading cause of extinction.
Restoration ecology includes various activities meant to restore ecological processes or improve aquatic habitats. Butte Creek Restoration Project is an "active restoration" project, a restoration effort which includes on the ground action to restore and improve natural conditions of the creek. Defining restoration goals or statements of broad aims to be achieved. Restoration objectives are measurable steps that must be completed to attain the goal. Designing an assessment process lays the groundwork for setting goals and considering objectives which will be used to measure success towards the goal(s).
Watershed assessment is essential to any restoration project. Assessing the project takes into consideration whether the goal is: Species focused Water Quality focused Ecosystem focused
A great way to begin is to ask questions such as:
What restoration actions are required to restore availability and quality of habitat which allows for the greatest amount of biodiversity?
Which habitats will be most beneficial towards the improvement of biological populations, communities, or ecosystems?
Areas to consider in your assessment include: Sediment supply Hydrology: Runoff and stream flow Nutrients and pollutants Riparian processes Floodplain processes Fluvial processes Species population, migration, connectivity, and habitat availability Once your assessment is completed, results are recorded and summarized for collaborative decision-making. This level of collaboration is a process of identifying opportunities in your restoration project. Restoring "resilience" is an important component of stream bed restoration. Helping the system's ability to withstand shocks ensures the system's adaptability during times of stress. Resilience is not only essential to the ongoing success of an ecosystem, but it ensures that human economies and communities are are also benefactor's of a healthy watershed. When we take care of our watersheds - everyone wins!