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Freshwater Habitat Restoration Actions in the Pacific Northwest: A Decade’s Investment in Habitat Improvement


Address correspondence to S. L. Katz, email


Across the Pacific Northwest (PNW), both public and private agents are working to improve riverine habitat for a variety of reasons, including improving conditions for threatened and endangered salmon. These projects are moving forward with little or no knowledge of specific linkages between restoration actions and the responses of target species. Targeted effectiveness monitoring of these actions is required to redress this lack of mechanistic understanding, but such monitoring depends on detailed restoration information—that is, implementation monitoring. This article describes the process of assembling a database of restoration projects intended to improve stream and river habitat throughout the PNW. We designed the database specifically to address the needs of regional monitoring programs that evaluate the effectiveness of restoration actions. The database currently contains spatially referenced, project-level data on over 23,000 restoration actions initiated at over 35,000 locations in the last 15 years (98% of projects report start or end dates between 1991 and 2005) in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Data sources included federal, state, local, nongovernmental organization, and tribal contributors. The process of database production identified difficulties in the design of regional project tracking systems. The technical design issues range from low-level information such as what defines a project or a location to high-level issues that include data validation and legalities of interagency data sharing. The completed database will inform efficient monitoring design, effectiveness assessments, and restoration project planning.