This project, to propose an implementation strategy for standard monitoring
protocols, builds on my Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Fellowship to support a
study entitled Evaluating Cumulative Ecosystem Response to Restoration Projects in the
Columbia River Estuary (Diefenderfer et al. 2005). The major objective of the study was
to develop a minimum set of standard monitoring protocols to be used within each
restoration project in the Columbia River estuary (CRE).
The Biological Opinion, developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service in
2000, has encouraged the CRE research and management community to focus efforts on
restoring impacted habitats for threatened or endangered salmon. A current concern is
that the estuary-wide restoration effort lacks a uniform framework in which to evaluate
the effectiveness of individual projects as well as the cumulative effects of multiple
This report provides an overview of monitoring in general as context for this
study; describes the background and restoration framework for the CRE; documents the
development of standard protocols conducted during the larger study of cumulative
effects of multiple restoration projects; proposes a technical and institutional
implementation strategy, proposes a CRE-specific database and concludes with long-term
Chapter one outlines the context for standard monitoring protocols. It begins with
a description of monitoring as a component of large-scale ecosystem restoration and
describes universal objectives that apply to monitoring and evaluation programs. Second,
it describes estuary restoration strategies common within the CRE and describes technical
and institutional considerations for monitoring protocols. It concludes with examples of
research programs across the country that use standard monitoring protocols. Chapter two explains the background for a restoration framework for the CRE.
Currently there is no comprehensive, coordinated restoration, monitoring and evaluation
program in place, but this has been recognized as an unmet need. Restoration is being
conducted in a piecemeal fashion and only local and regional programs are in place, not a
CRE-wide program. This chapter illustrates the institutional responsibilities for aquatic
habitat restoration and the progress toward an integrated monitoring framework,
describes restoration goals and strategies, provides examples of ongoing restoration
projects, discusses management implications and concludes with the potential of
standardized protocols to restoration projects in the CRE.
The contents of chapter three highlight my role in working in a collaborative
group effort to develop a minimum set of standard monitoring protocols. It describes my
role in collecting relevant restoration literature, helping to design the protocol layout,
taking minutes from a restoration managers' meeting, and highlighting my
recommendations for future versions of the protocol manual.
Chapter four is the main focus of this report. It describes a strategy I propose for
implementing standard monitoring protocols. The basic components of this strategy are a
proposed restoration taskforce, designed as the central hub of restoration efforts. It also
describes technical and institutional implementation activities to consider when
developing and implementing standard monitoring protocols. Chapter 5 describes and illustrates a proposed CRE-specific restoration project
database in detail. It provides specific tools for different user groups and is intended to
be user friendly and easily accessible. It is designed to be updated and maintained by the
central taskforce described in chapter 4.
Finally, the report concludes with long-term implementation considerations.
These include reviewing the performance of restoration actions, implementing an
adaptive management approach and contingency planning
The contents of this report may be useful to those entities that ultimately will be
chosen to lead a CRE-wide restoration, monitoring and evaluation program. The
implementation strategy outlined in this report could be used as a first step in moving
towards an integrated program that is structured around the use of standard monitoring
protocols. Also, the proposed database could be used as a template for a restoration
project database within the CRE.