Frequently Asked Questions
What is Habitat
Why Restore Habitats?
Who can do habitat
What habitats are
being considered for restoration?
Are restored habitats
as productive as the previously unperturbed habitats were?
What is Habitat Restoration?
Habitat restoration can be defined in many different ways. In
general, habitat restoration involves all of those measures necessary
to restore, enhance, or create healthy ecosystems, including the
reestablishment of native vegetation and fish and wildlife habitat
on disturbed or denuded sites. The restoration of the appropriate
hydrology and soils on a site are also critical in order to create
sustainable ecosystems (Save the Bay 2001).
Restoration activities may include, but are not
- The re-establishment of habitat structure, be it chemical,
biological, or physical. This may include reestablishing or maintaining
hydrology, whether by reestablishing river or tidal flow, restoring
flood regimes, or re-establishing topography.
- Control of exotic, non-native, or invasive species of plants or animals.
- Re-vegetation through native plantings or natural succession.
- Removal of barriers or construction of fish ladders to provide
passage for spawning or migrating fish.
- Controlling, reducing, or eliminating other specific adverse
impacts such as controlling polluted runoff
Why Restore Habitats?
Habitat restoration is necessary for a variety of reasons. Habitat
restoration is being used to reintroduce locally extirpated rare
plant species and to create habitat for threatened and endangered
wildlife. The restoration of wetlands and riparian areas is helping
to reverse long-term trends in habitat loss, which has occurred
over the last century. Numerous small and large-scale projects are
underway to restore the natural hydrology, soils and vegetation
to habitats around Rhode Island.
Who can do habitat restoration?
Most often, habitat restoration activities are conducted by federal,
state, and local government resource agencies, as well as by private
and nonprofit groups in order to restore and enhance degraded ecosystems.
Even private landowners are restoring habitats on their lands because
they are good stewards of the land and believe it is the right thing
to do. Often habitat restoration appeals to many private landowners
because they can get financial and technical assistance to help
with the project.
What habitats are being considered for
The habitat restoration portal focuses on restoration
of fish runs in streams and rivers, salt marsh, and seagrass habitats.
There are many other habitats in Rhode Island that may be restored,
and there are other programs with goals to restore these other habitats,
including freshwater wetlands, beach vegetation, coastal ponds,
salt ponds, coastal grasslands, lobster and shellfish reefs, maritime
forests, intertidal flats, and more.
Are restored habitats as productive as
the previously unperturbed habitats?
Just as habitats are not degraded overnight, habitat structure and
function also take time to become reestablished, even when the best
available engineering and scientific techniques are used. Restoration
is still a relatively young science, and many habitat restorations
completed over the last decade are still becoming established, evolving
toward better functioning, and so are still under evaluation. During
this monitoring phase, research often reveals that further modifications
or corrections are needed to achieve the desired level of restoration.
Some habitats have been degraded so severely over such a long period
of time that it may take years before they become as productive
as undamaged areas, so it is critical to evaluate every project
with a thorough and ongoing monitoring program (NOAA Restoration
Save The Bay, Inc., People for Narragansett Bay. 2001. Save The
Bay Web site: What is Habitat Restoration? (http://www.savebay.org/).
NOAA Restoration Center. 2001. NOAA Restoration Center Web site:
Are restored habitats as productive as the previously unperturbed
habitats were? (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration).
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This site was created through a partnership
Coastal Resources Management Council
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
Save The Bay®