Using technical adaptive management to improve design guidelines for urban instream structures

Peggy A. Johnson, Rachel L. Tereska, Eric R. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Adaptive management is a heuristic approach to treating stream restoration projects as continuous, cyclic experiments, yielding results to be incorporated into future decisions. This comprehensive assessment views failures as surprises that are valuable lessons. Monitoring, evaluation of data, and communication of results are critical; the monitoring results trigger feedback mechanisms to invoke adaptation to the newly acquired information and communication of new hypotheses, treatments, or policies. The principles of adaptive management were applied to a monitoring study of three urban stream restoration sites in Maryland. Data were collected and evaluated for various restoration techniques, including vanes, cross vanes, step pools, root wads, imbricated riprap walls, and coir fiber rolls. Improvements to the existing Maryland design guidelines and policies were developed as the feedback mechanism. With the increasing application of adaptive management in stream restoration efforts, it is likely that repeated failures will be prevented and future restoration projects will be more successful in achieving their goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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