Recovery Potential as a Means of Prioritizing Restoration of Waters Identified as Impaired Under the Clean Water Act
Abstract:The sheer number of waterbodies identified as impaired under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act presents states with challenging decisions on which sites to address, in what order, and with what fraction of limited restoration resources. Our goal was to demonstrate a systematic, statewide assessment of recovery potential. Recovery potential, while difficult to define precisely, embodies the concept that site characteristics, disturbance history, and socio-economic context provide useful information on the likelihood of restoration success. We compiled several measurements related to ecological condition (site characteristics), disturbance, and socio-economic context for the state of Illinois 2002 303(d) list of impaired waters. Cluster analysis was used to organize the sites according to recovery potential. We compare the cluster results to Illinois' nominal prioritization of 303(d) sites as low, medium, and high, and discuss how the geographic pattern in the cluster groups could be exploited as a prioritization tool.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2008-01-01
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