Federal Stream Corridor Restoration Handbook
"Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children's lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land"
— Luna Leopold
Restoration practitioners share simultaneously in the good fortune and responsibility of participating in a new endeavor -- stepping beyond the current concept of natural resources conservation to a newer concept of restoring the living environment to an ecologically viable condition -- to create places that improve rather than degrade over time. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "A mind stretched by a new idea can never go back to its original dimension." This document is a result of an unprecedented cooperative effort among fifteen Federal agencies and partners to produce a common reference on stream corridor restoration. It responds to a growing national and international public interest in restoring stream corridors. Increasingly, feature articles, case studies, and published papers focus on stream corridors as critical ecosystems in our living environment. The recent 25th anniversary of the Clean Water Act also has helped focus attention on stream corridor restoration. This document encapsulates the rapidly expanding body of knowledge related to stream corridors and their restoration. It makes no endorsement of one particular approach to restoration over another; nor is it intended as a policy document of any participating Federal agency. It includes the full range of possibilities facing restoration practitioners, including no action or passive approaches, partial intervention for assisted recovery, and substantial intervention for managed recovery.
A product of the Clean Water Action Plan is the demonstration of stream corridor restoration technology in National Showcase Watersheds.
The document encourages locally led, public involvement in restoration planning and implementation. The challenges in restoring thousands of miles of degraded stream corridors must involve the participation of government agencies, public and private landowners, permit holders, and local volunteer, civic, and conservation groups and individuals. We encourage users of this document to supplement it with new literature, and regionally or locally specific information. We encourage restoration practitioners to share new information and case studies with others to advance the art and science of stream corridor restoration.
We intend for the contents of this document to both entice and challenge the reader by what they suggest --not only work to be studied and expanded, but work to be initiated. The dedication of those who contributed to its production will emerge on the landscape as restored, productive stream corridors, as the document provokes further interest, thought, and continued cooperative action.