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Assessing risk to aquatic ecosystem
Frank McCormick, Air, Water, and Aquatic Environments, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research
Station, Boise, ID
Restoration of aquatic ecosystems in the West requires concerted efforts across multiple resources. Hazardous fuels treatments to reduce the likelihood and severity of wildfire; habitat restoration and improved aquatic organism passage to reduce fragmentation of fish and amphibian populations; interdiction and eradication of invasive species; and reduction of sediment input from roads are only a few of the often competing priorities of land management agencies in the region. As a changing climate and population migration places increasing demands on the water infrastructure, there will be greater pressures on federal, state, and tribal agencies to provide information and recommendations for meeting the mandates of environmental legistlation such as the Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. Providing effective restoration options will require data on the status of aquatic resources and their vulnerability to the effects of human activities, natural disturbance, and climate change. Assessing the relative risk that aquatic ecosystems face from stressors could inform the prioritization and coordination of restoration efforts.