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Posts tagged "restoration"

E.g., the case for removing old dams to restore ecosystems.

At over 100 sites throughout the Connecticut River basin, the largest river system in New England, we characterized species composition, valley and channel morphology, and hydrologic regime to define conditions promoting distinct floodplain forest assemblages. Species assemblages were dominated by floodplain-associated trees on surfaces experiencing flood durations between 4.5 and 91 days/year, which were generally well below the stage of the two-year recurrence interval flood, a widely-used benchmark for floodplain restoration. These tree species rarely occurred on surfaces that flooded less than 1 day/year. By contrast abundance of most woody invasive species decreased with flooding.
Such flood-prone surfaces were jointly determined by characteristics of the hydrograph (high discharges of long duration) and topography (low gradient and reduced valley constraint), resulting in increased availability of floodplain habitat with increasing watershed area and/or decreasing stream gradient. Downstream mainstem reaches provided the most floodplain habitat, largely associated with low-energy features such as back swamps and point bars, and were dominated by silver maple (Acer saccharinum). However, we were able to identify a number of suitable sites in the upper part of the basin and in large tributaries, often associated with in-channel islands and bars and frequently dominated by sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and flood disturbance-dependent species.
Our results imply that restoring flows by modifying dam operations to benefit floodplain forests on existing surfaces need not conflict with flood protection in some regional settings.

Authors in the Nature special feature on coastal threats argue that rather than restore costly sea walls and other engineered coastal defenses, it might be more efficient to restore tidal marshes, coastal wetlands, barrier islands and other natural ecosystems that have traditionally served as buffer zones for coastal-dwelling communities.

Via Climate Central

CNN reports Alabama is abusing BP oil spill money. Above, a state rep defends plans to spend beach restoration funds on building a new convention center and tourist attractions on the beach, above. 

Alabama is spending just 8.5% on restoring beaches and marine ecosystems. Louisiana, for comparison, is spending 100% of the BP penalties on wetland, wildlife, marshes, and other coastal restoration. Florida is spending 90% on restoration.

Solid reporting @CNN’s OutFront

Passionately written story of the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. The project is helping restore huge salmon runs as well as ecosystems left damaged by the 100 year old infrastructure project.


The Return of Salmon

As the last block of concrete was pulled from the riverbed, the Elwha River in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State flowed freely for the first time in over 100 years. The river was historically one of the most productive salmon streams for its size in the Pacific Northwest. Four hundred thousand salmon once swam its length each year but, in the century since the dam’s construction, that number had fallen to a few thousand.

Within months of the dam’s removal, nature has rushed back: over 200 salmon have already returned. The prospect of a river teeming with silverbacked salmon weighing over 45 kilograms each may no longer remain a hazy memory of local Native American tribes.

The Elwha dam removal project stands as one of the first large dams ever removed. The intent of removing the dams is to fully restore the Elwha River ecosystem and its native migratory fish species. In doing so, the Elwha dam project revived the debate of how to balance the conflicting demands of humans for both clean energy and healthy ecosystems.

Previously, that debate has been weighted decisively in favor of dam projects. But with a greater understanding of the value of ecosystem services, the Elwha dam project may represent the start of a revolution in how we assess the West’s aging dam infrastructure.


“Watch the trailer for an exciting series of videos documenting the comprehensive restoration and conservation process in the Hall of North American Mammals that took place from the spring of 2011 to the Fall of 2012.

The 16-part series was recognized as an Official Honoree for the 2013 Webby Awards in the Documentary: Series category”




Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change

Not at all what I expected. For just over half his talk, Savory discusses the issue of desertification, which many of you are familiar with. He (like many others) makes the case for restoring these deserts.

Then, in the last six minutes, he completely blows everyone’s minds. You just gotta see it. 

Regional planning. Very sexy intro to how your living situation could be improved.


Back to School: Peter Calthorpe at PennDesign - “Reflections on Urbanisms - New, Traditional, and Global”

Asker Anonymous Asks:
hi Michael Cote,My names is Benjamin Hale. I am a post grad student of the UniversityManchester currently undertaking my masters in architecture. I am looking at Venice as a possible location for a project as I find it to be a fascinating city. Im conducting an urban analysis in order to better understand the typologies found in the city and to ascertain the reasons why it has evolved in the way that it has. Could you please point me in the direction of some decent visual and reading material?:)
climateadaptation climateadaptation Said:

Hey Ben,

Thanks for the note. How on earth did you know I studied/toured Venice??

Architectural histories of Venice are a dime a dozen. I’d try to get into the heads of actual Venetians. Also, there is a firm that is hired exclusively by the city to maintain the canals and piazzas. They mostly do stone-work-restoration and are experts at it. Sorry, but the name slips my mind, but you can google around. What’s interesting about their firm is that they document the processes very precisely and publish it on line with movie clips and very visual reports.

Some quick recommendations:

Across the Bridge of Sighs.

Italia Nostra’s study on Venice is good, but you’ll need translation.

Search the Venice very excellent but cumbersome university library system.

The Venice Ministry of Culture (can’t find the link, might be Rome MoC or Italy MoC).

SACAIM, for restoration (not the best site, but dig through it)

And of course UNESCO’s Venice Office has ultra-high quality reports.

Cheers and keep in touch!



Beautiful restoration occurring along the Bronx River by non-profits, young people, landscape architects, and city planners.

“I come here all the time,” he said. “It’s incredible, no?”

Yes, it is.

For years one of the most blighted, abused waterways in the country, the southern end of the Bronx River has been slowly coming back and with it the shoreline that meanders through the South Bronx. Next year, barring further delays, what looks to be an innovative work of green architecture, by the Brooklyn firm Kiss & Cathcart, is slated to open in Starlight Park, a green stretch upriver from Hunts Point Riverside. This summer at the mouth of the river another street-end pocket park, Hunts Point Landing, is opening between a Sanitation Department depot and a food processing plant.

The New York waterfront is changing perhaps more than any other part of the city. For centuries the interests of big money and industry shaped it. These days, notwithstanding dogged efforts by the Economic Development Corporation to kindle business along the waterfronts of Sunset Park in Brooklyn and on Staten Island, the city’s old industrial waterfront is in many places giving way to parks and luxury apartment towers where money still talks, like along the Hudson.

But compared with headline-making projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the unexpected renaissance under way along the south end of the Bronx River flies largely below the radar. Park by park a patchwork of green spaces has been taking shape, the consequence of decades of grinding, grass-roots, community-driven efforts. For the environmentalists, educators, politicians, architects and landscape designers involved, the idea has not just been to revitalize a befouled waterway and create new public spaces. It has been to invest Bronx residents, for generations alienated from the water, in the beauty and upkeep of their local river.

Watch the inspiring or have a read at the NYTimes: River of Hope in the Bronx

"American eels were once found in great abundance on the East Coast, often quite far inland, but dams have sealed off much of their routes and their population has plummeted. However, the good news is that some of those old dams are no longer needed and are being torn down.

In 2004 the 22-foot-high Embrey Dam on the Rappahannock River in Virginia was dismantled. Since then, American eel numbers have shot up in headwater streams nearly 100 miles away, according to research just published by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service.

Researchers measured eels in Shenandoah National Park streams and found significant increases in numbers two years after the dam came down, with those gains accelerating since.

“Our study shows that the benefits of dam removal can extend far upstream,” Nathaniel Hitt, a USGS biologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement.  “American eels have been in decline for decades and so we’re delighted to see them begin to return in abundance to their native streams.”

The study authors noted that the American eel is being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.”

Via National Geographic

Spectacular video of a dam removal. Check out all the built-up silt!

Sea-level rise in the San Fransisco Bay. Could wetlands restoration prevent property damage to thousands of homes?

Corporations, with a constant eye on net profit, were reluctant to move without less than absolute pressure.
News reporter commenting on the terrible state of the Cuyahoga River in 1984.