A final 'RRC staff' blog entry from Ulrika Aberg, whilst she gets settled in her new desk overlooking the lake in Luzern.......
"I worked as Restoration Adviser for the RRC for almost three years, and have now left to take up a new position at Eawag (the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) in Luzern, Switzerland.
In 2011 Switzerland revised its Water Protection Act, which now stipulates that 4000km of river will be rehabilitated over the coming decades. To achieve this undertaking water courses need to be selected and prioritised, projects planned, objectives set and outcomes monitored and evaluated. In my new job I will be working on the FOEN (Federal Office for the Environment) funded project ‘Evaluating the outcome of river rehabilitation projects – towards an efficient use of resources’ which provides a unique and exciting opportunity to develop a standardised national framework for success evaluation. This will operate on two levels, both project specific and long-term, to strengthen the understanding of eco-morphological response and improve future rehabilitation approaches. The monitoring and evaluation framework is linked to existing tools and strategies, and will be developed in collaboration with practitioners and informed by national and international state-of-the-art research.
Over the last three years working at the RRC I have seen river restoration becoming a more strategic undertaking supported by national programs such as the Catchment Restoration Fund (CRF), the Catchment Partnership Action Fund (CPAF) and the Water Environment Fund (WEF). These funds are specifically supporting restoration projects aimed at achieving the objectives and requirements of the Water Framework Directive. Together with initiatives such as the Catchment Based Approach, river restoration will be more targeted, cost-effective and focussed on addressing the catchment bottlenecks to achieve good ecological status (and potential).
It has been very interesting to work at the RRC, covering such a wide area of river restoration, from scoping studies and project reviews to evaluation, information sharing and beyond. Helping to build up and managing the RiverWiki has really shown the importance and need of information sharing. River systems are complex and restoration is a multifaceted undertaking; we therefore urgently need to seize every opportunity to learn from the measures being implemented. However, an effective learning process is only possible if monitoring and evaluation data is comparable and shared, and if long-term trajectories are studied so that causes for a specific effect can be identified. I have said it before and I will say it again, plan your monitoring from the start and keep sharing your results!"
Good luck in your new role Ulrika and we look forward to some guest blogs on the Swiss approach to monitoring and evaluation.. From all at RRC.