After plants are installed at a restoration site they often become a part of the ongoing monitoring effort according to the protocol outlined in the Surface Water Management Vegetation Monitoring Manual (PDF).
Monitoring is critical to determining the relative success or failure of a project and is key to adopting an informed adaptive management approach to natural resource management. Primary interest is in documenting plant community composition change over time at stream, wetland, and forest rehabilitation and restoration projects across the county.
The monitoring efforts provide data used to determine if projects meet performance standards for grant funding and other obligations.
The support of salmon recovery is also a strong driver for data collection.
The changes detected in vegetation communities at restoration projects, are compared to reference reaches and the best available information on historic conditions to answer questions about if the plants are establishing, if ecosystem function is being restored, and if invasive plants are being controlled.
Surface water management staff uses this information along with other measures (e.g. habitat features and water quality) to determine the efficacy of different approaches to habitat restoration, enhancement, and creation.
This knowledge guides our continually evolving adaptive management approach and the development of best management practices.