4’000 river kilometres or 6% of the entire river network should be restored by the year 2090. But how do fish communities develop in a local river widening? And how does the riparian vegetation respond to opening culverts?
The development of a river restoration project can be studied through monitoring and evaluation. This includes surveys of abiotic and biotic indicators before and after the implementation of a project. Monitoring and evaluation offer the opportunity to learn more about rivers and their functioning. Collaborative learning is the basis for an effective use of the available resources and the learning process is facilitated if surveys are done using comparable methods across all projects.
Since 2015 we have been implementing a concept to harmonize monitoring and evaluation of river restoration projects at the Swiss scale, in close collaboration with the Federal Office for the Environment and practice partners (Switzerland and internationally) . The objective of the project is to generate a common procedure applicable to all restoration projects and should be implemented from 2020 onwards.
In spring 2018 we finished the first project phase. The proposed concept is being adapted and discussed further with the practice partners in the second phase of the project. For instance we describe the surveys in a field guide, provide guidelines for data management and map out the learning process.