Symposium affiliated with SWS
Convenor: Karina Dailey, Business - Trudell Environmental, Williston, Vermont
Summary: Invasive plants can take over to a point of no return within a disturbed or degraded wetland and create challenges for restoration or reclamation of wetlands. Monitoring for invasive species can result in early detection of new species, tracking the spread of existing invasive plants, and helping to identify appropriate treatment options, or whether it makes sense not to actively manage. Monitoring for invasive species can help restoration projects be successful by giving native species the opportunity to establish, improving biodiversity, and overall wetland functions and values. Our workshop will present approximately 3 Vermont Case Studies of Wetland Restoration and Invasive Species Management. While the case studies will focus on invasive plant species management and wetland restoration projects, the workshop will also generate discussion on how the information can be applied in a number of other ways including the management of invasive plant species on public lands and requirement of invasive species management on projects receiving wetland permits.
Symposium affiliated with SWS/SER
Convenor: Joe Berg, Biohabitats
Summary: The presence of wood in streams is a well understood by folks with an understanding of historical landscape ecology. The extirpation of beaver, forest clearing, and removal of wood from our streams and rivers have removed the evidence of wood’s importance to many contemporaneous researchers. In this workshop, I will discuss the use of wood in stream restoration as a logical refinement of stream restoration. Wood is a natural renewable resource, is less costly than the current preferred building material, and has been a common feature in stream stability prior to recent anthropogenic modifications. Adding wood to riffle features to improve their habitat quality, using buried wood as a bank stabilization and habitat improvement feature, using rootwads to attenuate velocities, reconnect floodplains, and improve bank cover are all highly valued applications of wood in stream restoration. I will describe several recent stream restoration projects, including a series of beaver dam analogs to restore the hydrology of a ~3-ac PEM/PSS wetland, a 4,100-ft long stream and ~16-ac floodplain restoration, and a recently completed project that included the restoration of ~18,000-ft of headwater through 3rd order stream and more than 80-ac of floodplain wetland. I will discuss unique site assessment elements, the design approaches used, regulatory issues, and our design-build construction elements with the intention of providing a roadmap for designers and contractors interested in considering the increased reliance on wood structures in their stream restoration designs.
Convenor: Stefan Weber, Ontario Plant Restoration Alliance
Summary: This workshop will connect public and private sector stakeholders with the aim of develop strategies for ramping up the production of ecologically appropriate native plants and seeds for restoration.
Drawing from the many grass-roots initiatives that exist, participants will share their experience in sourcing and growing native plants, and identify barriers in the native plant and restoration industry. What has been working in your area, and what has not been working? How can we work together to achieve mutual goals?
Topics may include forecasting demand and long term financial planning, coordinated and sustainable wild-sourcing, processing, storage and knowledge transfer, seed transfer and assisted migration under global warming, engaging farmers and supporting green business.
Efficiencies may be achieved through public-private partnerships that allow for more regionally appropriate native plants for use in restoration. Demand forecasting, wild-sourcing assistance, and leveraging volunteers can help reduce overall costs of producing restoration material.
Symposium affiliated with SER
Convenor: Rob Fiegener, International Network for Seed-based Restoration (SER)
Summary: Ecological restoration initiatives are increasing in both number and scale globally. Native plant seed is the foundation of almost every ecological restoration project, and as the scale of restoration projects increases, so too the need for native seed is expected to grow. Restoration efforts regularly rely on the use of thousands of tons of native plant seed, requiring investments of hundreds of millions of US dollars. There is a global push to improve access to, and the supply of high quality, biodiverse, and genetically appropriate seed to facilitate successful restoration outcomes. Ensuring a consistent supply of high quality native plant seed from appropriate sources represents one of the most significant constraints facing restoration practitioners. This workshop will present lessons learned from ongoing efforts to establish seed supplies in various regions and at scales ranging from local to multinational, on the topics of species selection; development and use of seed transfer zones; seed collection; propagation and production techniques; and use in restoration. Discussion will include the political, financial, and cultural context in which these seed programs have developed.
Symposium affiliated with SWS
Convenor: Paul Minkin, US Army Corps of Engineers
Summary: Assessments of function and condition are key elements of wetland reclamation and ecological restoration. Wetland assessments can be used to generate baseline data for both disturbed and reference sites which can be used to measure the success of restoration of basic processes to disturbed systems. Assessment results can also be used to determine appropriate performance standards for monitoring the progress of a site toward restoration goals. There are many types of wetland assessment methods currently in use or being developed. This workshop will look in detail at several wetland assessment methods and strategies, including the New England Wetland Functional Assessment, the West Virginia Wetland Rapid Assessment Method, and other methods at varying geographic scales. Real world data will be used to walk through an example application of each method and demonstrate how they output the types and levels of various wetland functions or condition. Each presenter will also lead a discussion of how these results might be used in the design of restoration projects and the development of performance measures.
Symposium affiliated with SER
Convenor: Rebecca Schneider, Cornell University
Summary: The theme of this workshop will be on restoring soil health as a critical first step in restoration of severely degraded ecosystems. The introductory overview will set the scene with a summary of our strategies, successes, and challenges in jump-starting the restoration of degraded grasslands in northern China and the Great Plains. The subsequent discussion will allow worshop participants to provide their own respectives and experiences with soil health restoration. Several guiding questions will focus on how to increase awareness of the importance of soil health, identifying feasible targets and successful techniques, and what appear to be the critical barriers. If possible, a summary white paper or journal article will synthesize the major findings from this workshop.
Convenor: Eric Léger, Hatch
Summary: This workshop, in the form of a case study, will present the contexts in which cribwalls with branchlayers can be used efficiently. This phytotechnology, or bio engineering technique, is a very efficient technique to stabilize steep streambanks while offering a plant cover in the interface between terestrial and aquatic habitats. The workshop will present the pros and cons of that technique and will highlight the key issues to consider when designing or installing cribwalls. This workshop will present how cribwalls can offer an alternative to concrete or blouders walls for steep streambank stabilization, just as solid, but a lot more ecological. Based on more than 10 previous experiences, the speaker will present how it should be designed or built to ensure success of that technique.
Symposium affiliated with SER
Convenor: Rich Blundell, Oika Arts (Alliance of Artistic Communities Member)
Summary: This workshop proposal most closely aligns with the REWILDING conference theme.
As humanity enters the Anthropocene, science-based, ecological restoration projects present an increasingly critical response to anthropogenic environmental degradation. However, while the natural sciences have provided a much clearer understanding of the scale and physical symptoms of the Anthropocene, there is no mandate or mechanism within the sciences to address the fundamental, normative attributes of the Anthropos that caused these problems in the first place. In other words, science does not deal with culture, much less the deeper, cognitive dimensions that have created the contemporary social and economic systems at the heart of the Anthropocene. These "aesthetic" dimensions are typically considered within the domain of arts and humanities and are thus overlooked or undervalued as integral parts of human-natural ecological systems. But without addressing this cultural disconnect as an integral part of any ecological restoration project, we are severely limiting the value, impact and long-term viability of our work.
Fortunately, there already exists a large infrastructure for supporting this kind of ecological-arts integration. All that is needed is an introduction and a bridge. Oika is a grant-funded, science-based and arts-driven program for extending ecological principles and practices across the science-culture divide. This conversational workshop, which may include a call-in, video confernece with Oika-associated artists in the field, will explore how project managers and scientists can integrate a bespoke, artist-in-residence program within any proposed, ongoing, or completed ecological restoration project.
Symposium affiliated with SER
Convenor: Allaire Diamond, Vermont Land Trust
Summary: As much as 35% of Vermont's wetlands have been lost since European colonization, many ditched, drained, or converted to agricultural use. On farms throughout Vermont, small areas of converted wetlands provide marginal pasture or hay land and continue to be degraded through use, without contributing substantially to the farm's productivity. Vermont Land Trust (VLT) holds conservation easements on over 720 farms totaling over 132,000 acres, out of its portfolio of over 600,000 acres of conserved land in the state. VLT's emerging wetland restoration program aims to complete small-scale projects on farms in key watersheds, sealing for efficiency and widespread participation on sites not addressed by other restoration programs, such as the federal ACEP-WRE program. VLT completed its first such project in 2019, on a toe-of-slope wetland along the transnational Missisquoi River, in collaboration with Trudell Consulting Engineers. In the workshop, we will share successes and lessons learned through this project and others, from early scoping through project development, implementation, and year 1 monitoring; and glean insight from participants throught interactive exercices that will aid us in systematically scaling up our wetland restoration program and partnerships in future years. Topics include project development, funding, staffing, landowner relations, implementation logistics, and ongoing monitoring.
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