Improving monitoring efforts

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6. Scientific investigations to support improved monitoring

There is a need for focused research that improves our ability to monitor projects and their responses at different scales. Since Monitoring research tends to be expensive and long-term it is critical to make sure these efforts will really allow us to conduct more effective restoration monitoring and will yield stronger restoration projects in river deltas to justify the higher costs and time expenses.

Reference sites represent a key area that needs research as they function as the controls in restoration experiments. Finding areas that are truly isolated from the processes that govern the response variables that are being measured at the restoration site is challenging at best. Confounding this is the fact that reference sites need to be at a large enough scale to support multiple project efforts.

There is also a great need to refine measurement methods to measure response variables more efficiently, more accurately and/or at a reduced cost. LiDAR is a common, cost effective way to evaluate coarse level changes in river delta environments following restoration treatments (Woo et al, 2009 and Athearn et al, 2010). High Resolution LiDAR represents one monitoring technology that has improved in recent years. This new technology yields more accurate results and can replace more costly ground surveys in some instances.