_Stefanie A. Kroll
Kroll is the project science director of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Scientists from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University have found evidence that although decades of watershed restoration and mitigation projects have taken place, data measuring their impact is relatively undocumented — or simply missing.
In an online article published in Freshwater Science, researchers from the Academy and the Stroud Water Research Center attribute the dearth of data to a need for greater investment in planning, goal-setting, monitoring and documenting stages of mitigation programs throughout the watersheds.
Stefanie A. Kroll, an assistant research professor in Drexel’s department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science and the lead author of the paper, encountered these challenges first-hand while working on The Delaware River Watershed Initiative.
To address these challenges, the authors suggest a combination of setting clear standards for monitoring the programs and partnering with funders and established conservation groups to implement it.
“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to watershed restoration, but a framework that enables better planning, monitoring and management will help us better inform restoration.”
“You don’t have to re-build the wheel, to solve this challenge,” says Kroll. “There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to watershed restoration, but a framework that enables better planning, monitoring and management will help us better inform restoration — ensuring activities are achieving their intended benefits and ultimately improving water quality and preserving the integrity of our ecosystems.”
Kroll also co-authored a review that measured improvements from agricultural best management practices and found a wide range of effectiveness. The review is helping Kroll and her colleagues set targets for recovery of aquatic communities when such practices are implemented, and a forthcoming study will stress how equally important measuring change is when setting objectives for restoration projects.
Continuing to restore waterways is a very important activity, given all the stress our actions have put on them, and seeing the fruits of this labor may take decades, Kroll adds. But monitoring changes and developing data to set targets is important for being able to inform practitioners on what is most effective, and what changes might need to be made on these decades-old practices.