Ecosystem Factors

  • Changes in flow and hydrology related to drainage from agricultural lands and impervious surfaces.
  • Changes in stream channel form and function, which result in instability that affects the diversity and quality of habitats.
  • Temperature change.
  • Excess nutrients and sediment in waterways.
  • Limited organic (and nutrient) processing in waterways.
  • Poor wastewater infrastructure.
  • Presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals.
  • Toxicity of effluent generated by resource extraction (e.g., acid mine drainage, fracking).
  • Road de-icing practices (e.g., applications of salt).
  • Loss of riparian forest buffers and the benefits provided by shading.
  • Presence of invasive species.

Policy and Administrative Factors

  • Common watershed, stressor and stream assessment and restoration guidelines.
  • Review and approval of stream restoration projects.
  • Cooperative Extension infrastructure that provides adequate technical assistance and knowledge-sharing.
  • Financial resources that provide adequate support to local implementation efforts.
  • Land available for retrofitted and new upland best management practices (BMPs) in urban areas.
  • Integration of water quality and living resource goals.

Scientific Knowledge and Application of Research

  • Stressor identification and prioritization.
  • Metrics that correlate with priority stressors.
  • Research to guide the selection of achievable reference conditions and design approaches.
  • Monitoring that evaluates the functional lift(s) or other improvement(s) that could result from best management practice implementation.
  • Lag times between BMP implementation and ecosystem response monitoring that could affect the ability to evaluate the effects of BMPs on stream health.
  • Time frame for recognizing new BMPs or adjusting BMP credits to reflect emerging science.
  • Research to refine nutrient credits.
  • Identification of nutrient hotspots in stream valleys where soils and other erodible geologic materials contain excess nutrients.
  • Data to develop a Chesapeake Bay-wide fish-based indicator to complement the Chesapeake Basin-wide Index of Biotic Integrity (Chessie BIBI).
  • Limitations of the applicability of the Chessie BIBI and other ecological data to streams on which restoration work is being conducted annually.