New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Fred J. Hitzhusen
Chapter 1: The Role of Biology and Ecological Engineering in Watershed and River Restoration
Timothy C. Granata and Ulrike Zika INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the role of biology and ecological engineering in watershed and river restoration by combining concepts of ecosystem theory into environmental design. The chapter is organized in the following way: ﬁrst, a brief introduction to the biology of rivers and streams, second a review of diﬀerent classiﬁcation systems of streams, followed by the presentation of some accepted ecological concepts in riverine systems. Next, the use of classiﬁcation systems and ecological theories is discussed in the context of the emerging ﬁeld of ecological engineering. Some general restoration concepts for riverine ecosystems then are presented. Finally, the idea of sustainability is introduced followed by a discussion of how ecology, economic, and engineering principles go together to make a sustainable design. BIOLOGY OF RIVERS AND STREAMS In lotic (that is, ﬂowing) systems, primary production is usually dependent on light intensity, and nutrients are supplied by the ﬂow. In smaller streams in wooded areas with high shading, primary production is very low. This is also true for large “murky” rivers, where a large part of the light is absorbed in the turbid water column and cannot penetrate to the bottom. However, slow-ﬂowing areas in large streams can have a high level of planktonic production, similar to lentic (lake and reservoir) systems. In contrast to other ecosystems (forests, lakes), rivers are not autonomous regarding their energy supply. They depend on surrounding ecosystem for energy input. In a small stream, Fisher and Likens...
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