Summary

The use of ecological engineering to manage streams is an emerging approach that differs from others with its reliance on self-designing ecosystems. Using ecological principles as a guide to reach stream management goals instead of conventional engineering yields a higher probability of creating more diverse, stable, and self-sustaining ecosystems. However, regardless of the approach used, successful management strategies must include realistic goals and a sufficient monitoring program to assess progress. There are still major ecological obstacles to overcome to achieve consistently successful programs. Due to logistic and financial constraints, ecosystem processes are studied much less on large rivers than on small streams; thus, information on larger lotic ecosystems often is extrapolated from research on smaller streams. Much remains to be discovered concerning the ecology of stream ecosystems, and understanding the basic physical, chemical, and biological components of streams, and their interactions, is critical. Finally, because stream ecosystems are strongly linked to their watersheds, stream management must focus not only on the stream itself, but also on the surrounding landscape, including the riparian zone, floodplain, adjacent wetlands, and, potentially, the entire watershed.

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See also: Erosion; Lake Restoration Methods; Landscape Planning; Material and Metal Ecology; Nitrogen Cycle; River Models; Rivers and Streams: Physical Setting and Adapted Biota; Stream Restoration; Water Cycle.

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