National River Restoration Science Synthesis
River Restoration in our Nation: A Scientific Synthesis to Inform Policy, Grassroots Actions, and Future Research

  • NRRSS Project Description
    The National River Restoration Science Synthesis Project aims to provide a national level synthesis that can be used to inform policy at local, regional, and national levels. Our method will involve in-depth research at seven or eight geographic regions in the United States.
    The depth of analysis we propose can only be accomplished by harnessing the collective knowledge of widely respected research scientists with intimate knowledge of restoration practices and policies in their respective regions.
    Equally as important, the project will be designed with American Rivers' grassroots partners in mind, and the outcome of the analysis will be widely disseminated and available to policy makers and river restoration groups across the nation.

  • The Problem
    Because streams and rivers are so important economically and ecologically, restoration of these ecosystems is receiving a lot of attention and enormous financial support.
    Restoration activities are diverse, ranging from channel engineering, to hydrologic experimentation, renewal of riparian vegetation, bank stabilization and habitat improvement.
    All levels of government, as well as volunteer groups and non-governmental organizations, are players. Projects vary in scope from some of the largest imaginable (e.g., the Everglades), to small reaches of headwater streams.
    While some of these efforts are being catalogued on a local or regional scale, few are analyzed at all, and even fewer are evaluated for ecological success.
    Both the development of restoration ecology as a science and the success ofrestoration projects depend on linking the practice with the science, yet many thousands of stream restoration activities take place annually, only a fraction of which benefit from the combined insights of practitioners and scientists.
    It is tragic, for example, that scores of dams have been removed in Pennsylvania over the past few years in an aggressive stream restoration program undertaken by the state, but almost no monitoring data were collected before or after the removals. Policy makers are making costly decisions about the types and location of restoration projects with little or no information on their effectiveness.

  • Filling the Gap
    Our project is national in scope, and will draw on existing local and regional restoration databases and projects, but provide the in-depth research and analysis that scientists, citizens, restoration practitioners and policy makers currently lack. Our goal is to analyze the extent, nature, scientific basis and success of stream river restoration projects, and to present this information in a way that is useful to scientists, restoration practitioners, and those making policy decisions on what kinds of projects ought to receive priority for funding and implementation.
    Specifically, we will synthesize the regional data to:
    1) Evaluate the state of the practice of stream restoration nationally and identify successful demonstrations of different types of stream restoration, highlighting the reasons for their success.
    2) Produce a scientific document that examines the links between ecological theory and stream restoration (such as the roles of refugia, connectivity, and natural processes), and identifies the unanswered questions meriting further research.
    3) Develop a series of specific recommendations to improve how stream restoration is carried out and its success evaluated.
    4) Disseminate this information broadly and on an on-going basis.

  • The Outcome
    The science team will refine the design criteria for selection of projects, and develop criteria to assess the quality of the science underlying the restoration efforts and their outcomes, using a broad range of descriptive data (e.g., who, what, where, restoration goals, outcome/results, costs, methods) from a representative sample of restoration projects from various regions within the U.S.
    American Rivers will work with the scientists to develop data sets that represent issues of greatest concern to policy makers and grass-roots groups. The science team will synthesize this information and draw general lessons concerning the links between the practice of restoration and the science of restoration ecology.
    American Rivers will incorporate the data and analysis into electronic form on its website, designed in an accessible format to accommodate searches and linkages with its other research and outreach tools, and ensure that the project's findings are communicated to restoration practitioners and policymakers across the country.
    American Rivers will also enable managers, river groups, scientists and other interested parties to add new restoration projects to the database, ensuring that it will be a growing resource center for restoration practitioners in the future.

  • NRRSS Functions and Information
    NRRSS Database Schema
    (with MS Access 2000 download)

    Listing of NRRSS Node Managers and Users
    NRRSS Statistics for all Node Areas

    NRRSS Poster

  • Additional Sites related to NRRSS
    American Rivers


NRRSS Scope and Participants

The NRRSS Project has a national agenda, but our efforts are more intense within ten geographic nodes of interest. NRRSS nodes and node participants are listed below.

Australian NRRSS Node
Participants: Brooks,

California NRRSS Node
Participants: Kondolf,
Boutillier, Miller, Pagano,

Lower Chesapeake NRRSS Node
Participants: Bernhardt,
Hassett, Palmer, Paul

Upper Chesapeake NRRSS Node
Participants: Carr,
Giuliano, Hart, Srivastava

Central Great NRRSS Node
Participants: Galat,
O'Donnell, Ridenour

Upper Midwest NRRSS Node
Participants: Alexander,
Allan, Gergel

Pacific Northwest NRRSS Node
Participants: Clayton,
Goodwin, Jenkinson, Relyea, Ransel, Stanford

Southeast NRRSS Node
Participants: Loeffler,
Meyer, Sudduth

Southwest NRRSS Node
Participants: Dahm,
Follstad-Shah, Gloss

Internode NRRSS Node
Participant: Bernhardt

The national effort is being coordinated by Margaret Palmer at the University of Maryland, Emily Bernhardt at Duke University, Dave Allan at the University of Michigan, and Katherine Ransel (Seattle) and Margaret Bowman (D.C.) of American Rivers.


NRRSS Public Area

  • View/Print NRRSS Records
  • Export NRRSS Records

NRRSS Statistics by State
Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Connecticut Delaware Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Maryland Massachusetts Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Hampshire New Jersey New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Puerto Rico Rhode Island Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming USA

NRRSS Home | NRRSS Public Area

NRRSS comments, questions: Emily S. Bernhardt     Web page and database contact: Bruce Powell

This NBII site is developed and maintained by the
Center for Biological Informatics of the U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Geological Survey logo  Center for Biological Informatics logo FirstGov Load Level
NBII Banner