Assessment and Restoration
This has become an active research area ithin the SWES Department with projects typically funded by state and federal natural resource agencies or by industry. They involve an initial assessment of the ecological status of a disturbed ecosystem, then development and testing a recovery or restoration plan. Examples of projects currently underway are:
inventories and restoration projects in the Colorado River Delta, Mexico
of former uranium mill sites on the Navajo Nation (Glenn)
and mine tailings (Glenn, Maier)
of nuisance aquatic plants in Arizona waters (Fitzsimmons)
- conversion of abandoned farmland into wildlife habitat as an environmental offset for construction of a power plant near Gila Bend, Arizona (Glenn).
These projects are almost always multidisciplinary, requiring expertise in water and soil sciences as well as ecology, conservation biology and specific knowledge of individual ecosystems. Faculty from SWES provide leadership for teams of experts or supply their expertise within teams, depending on how projects are organized. Western states and federal agencies are increasingly engaging in ecosystem assessment and restoration projects, as they attempt to repair past environmental damage and develop master plans to conserve wild areas in the face of regional population growth