The Importance of Science and Monitoring in Restoring Ecosystems

Keynote Speaker
Oral Presentation

Prepared by

Contact Information:; 423-225-7271


One typically thinks of environmental monitoring to ensure regulatory compliance, determine if safety standards are being met, or detect trends. Monitoring is also essential to ecosystem restoration but poses some particular challenges that require its integration with other scientific approaches, including design, modeling and assessment in order to be effective in adaptive management decisions. Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay has arguably over-relied on numerical modeling because high natural variability and delayed responses to actions have limited the utility of environmental monitoring. However, as sustained monitoring is now revealing clear signals of ecosystem improvements, there are lessons for improved integration of modeling, monitoring and scientific research and assessment. These improvements can increase the utility and power of science in achieving effective outcomes more efficiently. More effective integration of science will be required to achieve large-scale, sustainable benefits of the array of natural resource and ecosystem restoration projects being undertaken in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil blowout.