Symposium Summary: Working Across Diverse User Groups to Address Aquatic Fragmentation in a World of Limiting Resources and Increased Demands: Can We Prevent New Barriers to Avoid Restoration by Working With Diverse Stakeholders?
[email protected] Read the symposium abstracts here.Aquatic barriers have contributed to the decline of numerous aquatic species throughout the United States by fragmenting habitats. Although natural resource managers work diligently to reconnect habitats, they struggle to keep up with increasing water demands and infrastructure construction that lead to new barriers. This symposium featured presentations highlighting the successes and difficulties from real-world aquatic passage projects that allow for multiple uses including hydropower, irrigation, transportation, recreation, and flood management. Common themes included the keys to successful partnerships and examples of existing policy challenges and successes. Presentations also emphasized the importance of maximizing and communicating the return on investment, building trust with the community, and preventing and responding to floods. Drawing from these real-world examples, the symposium culminated in a panel discussion exploring opportunities to integrate aquatic organism needs into new and replacement infrastructure along our waterways. Discussion centered on stakeholders’ perceptions of aquatic passage projects and weaknesses in existing policies that create difficulties in working to achieve collaborative, multi-benefit solutions. The panel closed with a discussion about opportunities for new and existing aquatic passage tools and partnerships. Participants agreed to continue to collaborate on improving aquatic passage policies and programs to support healthy human and aquatic communities. — Laura Deighan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,