Post construction monitoring is required for every project that is implemented under the authority of the Estuary Restoration Act, as amended. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in consultation with the other Estuary Habitat Restoration Council members developed minimum monitoring criteria for these projects. The Estuary Habitat Restoration Council approved these criteria in September 2003.
Five key points of the approved criteria are:
- Monitoring parameters must be linked to the goals established for the projects and must include at least one structural and one functional parameter (in addition to project acreage). At a minimum post-construction monitoring is required for a period of five years.
- Methods for evaluating results must be established that directly relate to the goals for the project.
- Pre-construction (baseline) monitoring must occur.
- Project sites should be compared to a reference site or to historical data representing a reference conditions in order to evaluate progress toward reaching goals.
- Monitoring must be conducted in a timely fashion with a frequency and length of time appropriate to each parameter in the context of the project goals.
Click here for the full text of the requirements.
NOAA had prepared several other tools and publications that may be of use when preparing a monitoring plan for coastal projects. Science-Based Restoration Monitoring of Coastal Habitats is a two-volume manual, which provides technical assistance, outlines necessary steps, and provides useful tools for the development and implementation of sound scientific monitoring of coastal restoration efforts.
Another requirement of the Estuary Restoration Act is that NOAA in consultation with the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council develop and maintain a database of information concerning estuary habitat restoration projects. Projects that receive funds under the Estuary Restoration act must be entered into the database. In addition information regarding other estuary restoration projects is to be included.
The National Estuaries Restoration Inventory (NERI) has been created to track estuary habitat restoration projects across the nation. The purpose of the inventory is to provide information on restoration projects in order to improve restoration methods, as well as to track acreage restored toward the million-acre goal of the Estuary Restoration Act.