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Abstract: Session H  2:30 pm (Back to Session H)
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Monitoring Data Helps Practitioners Plan, Design & Evaluate Functional Uplift in Urban Stream Restorations

Chris Ruck 
Fairfax County Department of Public Works & Environmental Services
Fairfax, VA

Authors: Chris Ruck, Fairfax County DPWES, Stormwater Planning Division, Watershed Assessment Branch; LeAnne Astin, Fairfax

County Stormwater Planning Division, Watershed Assessment Branch; Meghan Fellows, Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division Watershed Implementation Branch – South; Jonathan Witt, Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division, Watershed Assessment Branch

Data from Fairfax County’s (VA) biological monitoring program 2004-2017 are used to evaluate the in-stream community as surrogates for water quality through a locally-derived Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity (B-IBI). Understanding the natural variability of ecological communities helps derive parameters of stream function and aids restoration practitioners, natural resource managers and regulators to set realistic goals for recovery.

An examination of benthic communities related to urban stressors and instream habitat indicate the variability of local landscapes is highly influential in community structure and function. As Fairfax County continues to spend over $20 million annually, on stream restoration project implementation, many external factors may hamper the ability to achieve regulatory goals for ecological recovery. In an effort to improve the biological outcomes of stream restorations, County ecologists and urban foresters are consulted regarding community habitat requirements, are incorporated into project teams, and assist with the implementation and monitoring of stream restorations. This discussion summarizes restoration monitoring efforts and the applicability of using long-term monitoring data to help set realistic targets for functional lift among Mid-Atlantic urban landscapes.