Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 293–314 | Cite as

Rediscovering the value of urban rivers

Article

Abstract

Rivers commonly serve as defining, founding features of human settlements, yet urbanisation has degraded them, often to the extent that they no longer provide the services to society from which the settlements developed. Urban river restoration has expanded in recent years and part of this can be attributed to the increased recognition of the interconnected benefits that restored ecosystems can provide to society. This paper reviews the impact of urbanisation on rivers and the ecosystem services that they provide, and explores the ecosystem approach to restoration. Techniques and tools for the practical application of the ecosystem services approach in conservation are considered, with reference to case studies. There is a need to internalise ecosystem service insights into pragmatic, transparent and readily-used and understood planning tools, based on the capacities of a range of ecosystem services in river corridors. This is necessary if we are to avoid the continued erosion of critical resources such as rivers, rediscovering their multiple values to society, and to accelerate the translation of these sustainability concepts into applied tools.

Keywords

Urban rivers Ecosystem services Mayes Brook Societal benefits Lost rivers River restoration 

References

  1. Adams WM, Perrow MR (1999) Scientific and institutional constraints on the restoration of European floodplains. In: Marriott SB and Alexander J (eds) Floodplains: interdisciplinary approaches. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 163: 89–97Google Scholar
  2. Baron JS, Poff NL, Ammgermeier PL et al (2002) Meeting ecological and societal needs for freshwater. Ecol Appl 12(5):1247–1260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barton NJ (1992) The lost rivers of London: a study of their effects upon London and Londoners, and the effects of London and Londoners on them. Historical Publications Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Beavan L, Sadler J, Pinder C (2001) The invertebrate fauna of a physically modified urban river. Hydrobiologia 445(1–3):97–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Booker DJ, Dunbar MJ (2004) Application of physical habitat simulation (phabsim) modelling to modified urban river channels. River Res Appl 20(2):167–183. doi:10.1002/rra.742 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chadwick MA, Dobberfuhl DR, Benke AC, Huryn AD, Suberkropp K, Thiele JE (2006) Urbanization affects stream ecosystem function by altering hydrology, chemistry, and biotic richness. Ecol Appl 16:1796–1807PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chin A (2006) Urban transformation of river landscapes in a global context. Geomorphology 79:460–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clifford NJ (2007) River restoration: paradigms, paradoxes and the urban dimension. Sustain Safe Water Supplies 7(2):57–68Google Scholar
  9. Daily G (1997) Nature's services: societal dependance on natural ecosystems. Island, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  10. Defra (2007) An introductory guide to valuing ecosystem services. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London. Available online: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/pdf/natural-environ/eco-valuing.pdf
  11. Diamond J (2004) Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. Viking, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Diederichs N, Markewicz T, Mander M, Martens A, Zama Ngubane S (2002) eThekwini catchments: a strategic tool for management. eThekwini Municipality, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  13. Dufour S, Piegay H (2009) From the myth of a lost paradise to targeted river restoration: forget natural references and focus on human benefits. River Res Appl 25(5):568–581. doi:10.1002/rra.1239 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eden S, Tunstall S (2006) Ecological versus social restoration? Environ Plann C: Gov Policy 24:661–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eftec (2007) Policy Appraisal and the Environment: An Introduction to the Valuation of Ecosystem Services – Wareham Managed Realignment Case Study. Report prepared for the Environment Agency by Economics For The Environment Consultancy Ltd (Eftec), LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Egoh B, Rouget M, Reyers B (2007) Integrating ecosystem services into conservation assessments: a review. Ecol Econ 63(4):714–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eigenbrod F, Anderson BJ, Armsworth PR, Heinemeyer A, Jackson SF, Parnell M, Thomas CD, Gaston KJ (2009) Ecosystem service benefits of contrasting conservation strategies in a human-dominated region. Proc R Soc B, Biol Sci 276(1669):2903–2911. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0528.PMCID:PMC2817206 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Elmore AJ, Kaushal SS (2008) Disappearing headwaters: patterns of stream burial due to urbanization. Front Ecol Environ 6:308–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Everard M (2009a) The business of biodiversity. WIT, AshurstGoogle Scholar
  20. Everard M (2009b) Ecosystem services case studies. Science Report SCHO0409BPVM-E-E. Environment Agency, Bristol. (http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/SCHO0409BPVM-E-E.pdf)
  21. Everard M (2010) Ecosystem services assessment of sea trout restoration work on the River Glaven, North Norfolk. Environment Agency Evidence report SCHO0110BRTZ-E-P. Environment Agency, Bristol. (http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/SCHO0110BRTZ-e-e.pdf)
  22. Everard M (in press) Value creation from aquatic ecosystem management. Proceedings of the York rivers conference, September 2010Google Scholar
  23. Everard M, Jevons S (2010) Ecosystem services assessment of buffer zone installation on the upper Bristol Avon, Wiltshire. Environment Agency Evidence report SCHO0210BRXW-e-e.pdf. Environment Agency, Bristol. Available online: http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/SCHO0210BRXW-e-e.pdf
  24. Everard M, Kataria G (2010) The proposed Pancheshwar Dam, India/Nepal: A preliminary ecosystem services assessment of likely outcomes. An IES research report. Available online: http://www.ies-uk.org.uk/resources/papers/pancheshwar_dam_report.pdf
  25. Everard M, Bramley M, Tatem K, Appleby T, Watts W (2009) Flood management: from defence to sustainability. Environ Liabil 2:35–49Google Scholar
  26. Everard M, Shuker L, Gurnell A (in press) The Mayes Brook restoration in Mayesbrook Park, East London: an ecosystem services assessment. Environment Agency Evidence report. Environment Agency, Bristol.Google Scholar
  27. Findlay SJ, Taylor MP (2006) Why rehabilitate urban river systems? Area 38(3):312–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fitzhugh TW, Richter BD (2004) Quenching urban thirst: growing cities and their impacts on freshwater ecosystems. Bioscience 54(8):741–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Folke C, Jansson A, Larsson J, Costanza R (1997) Ecosystem appropriation by cities. Ambio 26:167–172Google Scholar
  30. Glaves P, Egan D, Harrison K, Robinson R (2009) Valuing ecosystem services in the East of England. East of England Environment Forum, East of England Regional Assembly and Government Office, East EnglandGoogle Scholar
  31. Gleick PH (2000) The changing water paradigm: a look at twenty-first century water resources development. Water Int 25:127–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grimm NB, Faeth SH, Golubiewski NE, Redman CL, Wu J, Bai X, Briggs JM (2008) Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319:756–760PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Groffman PM, Bain DJ, Band LE et al (2003) Down by the riverside: urban riparian ecology. Front Ecol Environ 1(6):315–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gurnell AM, Lee MT, Souch C (2007) Urban rivers: hydrology, geomorphology, ecology and opportunities for change. Geog Compass 1(5):1118–1137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hitzhusen FJ (2007) Economic valuation of river systems. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  36. House M, Ellise J, Herricks E, Huitved-Jacobsen T, Seager J (1993) Urban drainage—impacts on receiving water quality. Water Sci Technol 27:117–158Google Scholar
  37. Innes JE, Booher DE (1999) Consensus building and complex adaptive systems: a framework for evaluating collaborative planning. J Am Plann Assoc 65:412–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jim CY, Chen WY (2009) Ecosystem services and valuation of urban forests in China. Cities 26(4):187–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Johnston P, Everard M, Santillo D, Robèrt K-H (2007) Commentaries: reclaiming the definition of sustainability. Environ Sci Pollut R 14:60–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Klein RD (1979) Urbanisation and stream quality impairment. Water Res Bull 15:948–963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lerner DN (1990) Groundwater recharge in urban areas. Hydrological Processes and Water Management in Urban Areas. Proceedings of the Duisberg Symposium, April 1988. IAHS Publication No. 198, 1990Google Scholar
  42. Loomis J, Kent P, Strange E, Fausch K, Covich A (2000) Measuring the total economic value of restoring ecosystem services in an impaired river basin: results from a contingent valuation survey. Ecol Econ 33:103–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Maltby LL, Paetzold A, Warren PH (2010) Sustaining industrial activity and ecological quality: the potential role of an ecosystem services approach. In: Batty LC, Hallberg KB (eds) Ecology of industrial pollution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 327–344Google Scholar
  44. Meyer JL, Paul MJ, Taulbee WK (2005) Stream ecosystem function in urbanizing landscapes. J North Am Benthol Soc 24(3):602–612Google Scholar
  45. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems & human well-being: synthesis. Island, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  46. Nam-choon K (2005) Ecological restoration and revegetation works in Korea. Landscape Ecol Eng 1:77–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Niemelä J, Saarela R-R, Söderman T, Kopperoinen L, Yli-Pelkonen V, Väre S, Kotze DJ (2010) Using the ecosystem services approach for better planning and conservation of urban green spaces: a Finland case study. Biodivers Conserv 19:3225–3243. doi:10.1007/s10531-010-9888-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nolan PA, Guthrie N (1998) River rehabilitation in an urban environment: examples from the Mersey Basin, North West England. Aquat Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst 8:685–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. OECD (2010) Paying for biodiversity: Enhancing the Cost-Effectiveness of Payments for Ecosystem Services. OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/9789264090279-en
  50. Paetzold A, Warren PH, Maltby LL (2010) A framework for assessing ecological quality based on ecosystem services. Ecol Compl 7(3):273–281. doi:10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.11.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Paul MJ, Meyer JL (2001) Streams in the urban landscape. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 32:333–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Petts G, Heathcote J, Martin D (2001) Urban rivers: our inheritance and future. IWA, LondonGoogle Scholar
  53. Pickett S, Cadenasso M, Grove J (2001) Urban ecological systems: linking terrestrial ecological, physical, and socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 32:127–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Roy AH, Freeman MC, Freeman BJ, Wenger SJ, Ensign WE, Meyer JL (2006) Importance of riparian forests in urban catchments contingent on sediment and hydrologic regimes. Environ Manage 37:523–539PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Spangenberg JH, Settele J (2010) Precisely incorrect? Monetising the value of ecosystem services. Ecol Complex 7(3):327–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Suren AM (2000) Effects of urbanisation. In Collier KJ, Winterbourn MJ (eds) New Zealand Stream Invertebrates: Ecology and Implications for Management. NZ Limnol Soc, Hamilton, pp. 260–288Google Scholar
  57. Taylor KG, Owens PN (2009) Sediments in urban river basins: a review of sediment-contaminant dynamics in an environmental system conditioned by human activities. J Soils Sediments 9(4):281–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Thorp JH, Flotemersch JE, Delong MD (2010) Linking ecosystem services, rehabilitation and river hydromorphology. Bioscience 60(1):67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tratalos J, Fuller RA, Warren PH, Davies RG, Gaston KJ (2007) Urban form, biodiversity potential and ecosystem services. Landsc Urban Plan 83(4):308–317. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2007.05.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tzoulas K, Korpela K, Venn S, Yli-Pelkonen V, Kaźmierczak A, Niemela J, James P (2007) Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using green infrastructure: a literature review. Landsc Urban Plan 81(3):167–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. UNFPA (2007) State of the world population 2007: unleashing the potential of urban growth. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. Walsh CJ, Roy AH, Feminella JW, Cottingham PD, Groffman PM, Morgan RP (2005) The urban stream syndrome: current knowledge and the search for a cure. J North Am Benthol Soc 24(3):706–723Google Scholar
  63. Walton I (1653) The Compleat Angler. [Available in many impressions.]Google Scholar
  64. Wang L, Lyons J, Kanehl P, Bannerman R, Emmons E (2000) Watershed urbanisation and changes in fish communities in south-eastern Wisconsin streams. J Am Water Resour Assoc 36:1173–1189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wild TC, Bernet JF, Westling EL, Lerner DN (2010) Deculverting: reviewing the evidence on the ‘daylighting’ and restoration of culverted rivers. Water and Environment Journal. doi:10.1111/j.1747-6593.2010.00236.x
  66. Whitford V, Ennos AR, Handley JF (2001) City form and natural process: indicators for the ecological performance of urban areas and their implication to Merseyside, UK. LandscUrban Plan 57:91–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wolman MG (1967) A cycle of sedimentation and erosion in urban river channels. Geog Ann A 49:385–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Woods B, Ballard R, Kellagher et al. (2007) The SUDS manual. CIRIA Report C697, Construction Industry Research and Information Association, LondonGoogle Scholar
  69. World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Our common future. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Applied SciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  2. 2.WiltshireUK
  3. 3.Catchment Science Centre, Department of GeographyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations