Abstract: Session C  8:30 am (Back to Session C)
Digital Technology Makes Stream Restoration More Efficient, Accurate, and Less Costly

Nancy Douglas
San Luis Obispo, CA

Call to Action
Climate change, stream and river destruction, disappearing plant/animal species, and loss of native habitat are a call to action – let’s use the best of our technology to make environmental work more efficient, to produce higher quality outcomes, to foster more intelligent debate for solving problems, and to push sustainability forward faster.

The Problem
Utilizing pen and paper or a mish-mash of digital solutions to collect, manage, and report data for stream restoration is tedious and error prone, creating inconsistent and inaccurate data, wasted time, and unnecessary stress, often resulting in untimely deliverables. Adding these issues to the complex and exacting work of stream restoration extends the time projects take and produces an outcome that is not the highest quality it could be.

The Solution
Replacing paper with a comprehensive, easy-to-use digital solution that incorporates all three phases into a single, streamlined process removes time spent chasing down data, transcribing field notes, manually integrating photos, and manually creating complex reports.

The Benefits
The complete process of stream restoration assessment, planning, design, construction, and evaluation is simplified, more accurate, and less costly. Digital forms, such as the USACE Wetland Determination forms and state SWWWP forms can make reporting data less complicated, more accurate, and give you more timely deliverables.

Efficient data collection also brings more data into the collective body of data. Organized data management puts more eyes on a problem, and easy data retrieval creates more collaborative study, which expedites exploration of common issues, such as the impact of fire and flood on riparian habitats and sediment transport, water pollution on native species, and the complexities of urban restoration. The availability of searchable data fosters direct dissemination of information, inviting more communal discussion and debate about all the important and related issues paramount in restoring the overall health to any and all riparian ecosystems.

Easy-to-use digital solutions allow environmentalists to better define their work scope and to contribute more accurate and consistent data, adding another powerful tool in the ongoing challenges to our natural and social systems.