Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Lisa Eby

Commitee Members

Cara Nelson, Pat Burke


restoration, aquatic, funding, riparian, Rocky Mountains


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Natural Resources and Conservation


Large amounts of money are spent on stream restoration projects across the United States every year. Restoration researchers and professionals commonly recommend a suite of Best Management Practices (BMPs), including project goals, objectives, monitoring, consideration of future conditions, adaptive management, and public reporting of results, which are widely recognized as contributing to effective projects. Studies over the last two decades demonstrated that these BMPs were not consistently incorporated into restoration projects, which highlighted the need to improve practices and for funding programs to incorporate BMPs into funding requirements. I reviewed 28 programs that fund stream restoration in the Rocky Mountain region to determine whether programs require information associated with BMPs in the application and evaluation process and if this varies with funding program size. Additionally, I reviewed budget restrictions and timelines to investigate impediments to achieving BMPs. Previous studies typically found few restoration plans included goals and objectives, but 91% of the current funding programs in my survey required both goals and objectives as part of the application process. The larger (project costs > $300,000) funding programs in this study had more comprehensive BMP requirements: all of the large funding programs required goals, objectives, and public reporting of project results, while none of the smaller (<$25,000 per project) funding programs required consideration for future conditions or adaptive management. Even though post-project monitoring is commonly indicated to be required, many funding timelines are less than two years which is too short to evaluate whether the restoration successfully achieved their objectives. To evaluate project success, smaller funding programs need to expand their BMP requirements. Overall, the field may need to consider alternatives for funding approaches that would better facilitate monitoring and adaptive management.



© Copyright 2015 Tracy R. Wendt