Sustaining restored wetlands: identifying and solving management problems
It is clear that fully functional wetlands are not easily created and that even functionally restored wetlands may not be self-sustaining (Zedler and Weller 1989, Mitsch and Wilson 1996). The more degraded sites tend to present the most difficult challenges and the least predictable outcomes (Chapter 1). Short-term expectations for progress of created and restored sites are often too high and unrealistic. As restoration proceeds and the site begins to develop, many maintenance issues are likely to arise, both foreseen and unforeseen. To learn from these developments and to move the science of restoration ecology forward, we recommend an adaptive approach (Chapter 1). Restoration can be made adaptive by:
• establishing realistic expectations, • incorporating experiments into the project to understand better the cause/effect
relationships that drive ecosystem development, • assessing the site regularly, • identifying shortcomings and their causes, • making adjustments (mid-course corrections), and • continuing to assess and adjust.