For decades, humans have been manipulating creeks, streams and rivers to our benefit. We discharge treated wastewater and cooling waters into streams. We channelize streams into a straight line to improve drainage and mark property boundaries. We withdraw water from these features for use as drinking water, irrigation water and cooling water.
As you might suspect, these activities have significantly impacted all the qualities of the original stream. Many streams in urban and suburban areas are so degraded that they cannot serve as drinking or irrigation water. These streams are also basically devoid of aquatic life because channeling a stream destroys habitat for fish, invertebrates and other aquatic animals.
In the early 70’s, scientific research began to determine how our alteration of natural stream systems was affecting all downstream functions. As the saying goes “We all live downstream”. In today’s environmental regulatory climate, stream restoration is considered a valuable tool for restoring our earth environment.