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Water resource management under the Clean Water Act (CWA) has concentrated on limiting negative environmental impacts rather than creating positive ones. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with other federal agencies, is now moving toward the creation of positive impacts by encouraging ecological restoration.

Rather than being a "how-to" document, this document is an initial attempt to provide information on the structure and function of natural elements of aquatic resources and the CWA.

The audience for this document is state water quality agency personnel and other water resource managers who have been implementing the CWA over the past twenty years. This document explains and clarifies CWA authorities for restoration and examines linkages between selected restoration techniques and parameters that are often addressed in state water quality standards. The document also presents a decision-making guide for water resource managers to determine when to pursue restoration as a management option and provides information on the cost effectiveness of restoration.

Aquatic ecosystems consist of the interacting streams, wetlands, lakes, uplands, and groundwater systems commonly thought of as watersheds. Although this document focuses on the restoration of streams, we believe that many of the document's underlying principles can be useful for restoring and maintaining a wide variety of water resource types.

Robert H. Wayland, III, Director
Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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