Rivers & Watersheds

Scott Church
Reports from Previous Years
This is the annual report from American Rivers on which American watershed ecosystems are most at risk from drought, pollution, development, and a wide range of other natural and human impacts. It is one of the most important and influential fingers on the pulse of America's threatened watersheds. Released annually, it summarizes the status of the most threatened watersheds in America and identifies the 12 which are most at risk. The evaluation covers the latest science of riparian, riverine, and estuarine habitats, the status of anadromous and resident fish populations, watershed hydrology and surrounding forest stability, and regional economic and political activity that can, or will, impact the future of the watershed. American Rivers, whose national headquarters are based in Washington D.C., has done more to protect America's rivers and watersheds and raise awareness of the issues they face than any other advocacy group addressing the issues. This report is among the most watched and heard of its kind in the nation, and the starting point of much legislation and watershed restoration activity.
The Center for Water & Watershed Studies
The Center for Water & Watershed Studies, which is supported by the University of Washington, is a research center that studies watershed ecosystems and anthropogenic impacts on them. This site is a great place to get an overview of the basics of riparian ecology as it impacts anadromous fish runs (e.g. - salmon, steelhead, etc.), how land use impacts them, and access to published research. Subjects explored at this site include the ecology of fish, streams, invertebrates and groundwater, stream temperature and water quality questions, landscape classification, restoration and monitoring of riparian habitats, and more.
New Strategies for America's Watersheds
NRC, 1999
Watershed crises such as the recent mergence of a toxic organism like pfisteria in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay has focused public attention on potential hazards in our water. More importantly, such crises reminded us of the importance of entire watersheds to the health of any body of water and how watershed health does not respect the political boundaries so important to watershed users and various special interests. This book from the National Research Council provides a comprehensive look at the science of watershed management and the rise of "watershed thinking" among scientists and policymakers. It also identifies fundamental issues of watershed management, and explores reasons why now is the time to bring watersheds to the forefront of ecosystem management. Topics discussed include regional variations in climate, topography, demographics, institutions, land use, culture, and law, and the roles of federal, state, and local agencies.
Riparian Areas: Functions and Strategies for Management
NRC, 2002
Riparian habitat (e.g. - streamside and lakeside habitats) are a critical part of global ecosystems, supporting a bewildering array of fish, invertebrates, avian and mammalian life. They are also critical for stream flow and water table stabilization and water purity regulation. A wide range of anthropogenic impacts ranging from urban sprawl and development to commercial and recreational activities such as logging and fishing has had severe and far reaching impacts on such habitat. Lack of public awareness of these impacts combined with the resistance of various commercial and recreation special interest groups as well as property right interests has done much harm by interfering with the proper management of these ecosystems and done lasting damage that impacts everyone. This book from the National research Council examines what is known about the science of riparian ecosystems and how management of such ecosystems has succeeded and failed in recent years, and what can be done to preserve them for future generations.
Sustaining Our Water Resources
NRC, 1993
This is a book from the National Research Council which presents essays covering a variety of current issues in watershed management, including the science of watershed ecosystems, public values, and management issues for the future. Seven essays are presented by individuals prominent in water resources fields that cover issues such as intergenerational fairness and water resources, the relationship between policy and science for American rivers, changing values and perceptions in the hydrologic sciences, challenges to water resources decision making, and changing concepts of systems management.
Institutional arrangements for managing the great lakes of the world: Results of a workshop on implementing the watershed approach
Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management, 6 (3), Sept. 2001
Management lakes and watersheds has evolved at an accelerating rate in recent years to include basic principles of: 1) citizen and stakeholder involvement throughout the planning and management process; 2) geographic focus for management activities which include the lake and its entire watershed; and 3) the mechanisms to promote cooperation among different government jurisdictions and organizations in the watershed. In light of the importance of land use for economic and recreation, and the lack of understanding many special interest groups have of the need for watershed ecosystem management, creating effective institutional arrangements for implementing this watershed approach in lake regions is perhaps the most challenging and important issue facing the world's lakes today. The 8th International Conference on the Conservation and Management of Lakes in May 1999 included a workshop that addressed such questions from a scientific standpoint. This article is a synthesis of the results of that workshop and includes eight specific case reports prepared by workshop participants. Seven major threats to lakes were identified: 1) accelerated eutrophication; 2) invasive species; 3) toxic contamination; 4) overfishing; 5) water diversion, 6) acidification; and 7) climate change.


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