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In its brief existence as a recognized scientific discipline, restoration ecology has focused almost exclusively on terrestrial and wetland habitat. As a consequence, aquatic restoration and rehabilitation, an important component of restoration ecology is a relatively new discipline. This article examines the ecosystem approach to rehabilitation of the Great Lakes Basin and proposes that waterfront redevlopment and terrestrial and wetland habitat restoration should be accompanied by aquatic habitat restoration. Furthermore, aquatic habitat restoration must include rehabilitation of hard-bottom substrates and structures as well as pollution cleanup and management of soft sediments. Lastly, the article suggests that longterm evaluation is indispensable for aquatic habitat restoration and rehabiliation to be truly successful in the Great Lakes region. Only through longterm evaluation can we determine whether habitat restoration goals have been met at specific sites and transfer successful lessons learned at other locations.
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Restoration ecology: longterm evaluation as an essential feature of rehabilitation