Published In


Document Type


Publication Date



Stream restoration, Biotic communities, Water chemistry, Groundwater remediation, Municipal water supply, Aquatic ecology


We review how urbanization alters aquatic ecosystems, as well as actions that managers can take to remediate urban waters. Urbanization affects streams by fundamentally altering longitudinal and lateral processes that in turn alter hydrology, habitat, and water chemistry; these effects create physical and chemical stressors that in turn affect the biota. Urban streams often suffer from multiple stressor effects that have collectively been termed an “urban stream syndrome,” in which no single factor dominates degraded conditions. Resource managers have multiple ways of combating the urban stream syndrome. These approaches range from whole-watershed protection to reach-scale habitat rehabilitation, but the prescription must be matched to the scale of the factors that are causing the problem, and results will likely not be immediate because of lengthy recovery times. Although pristine or reference conditions are far from attainable, urban stream rehabilitation is a worthy goal because appropriate actions can provide ecosystem improvements as well as increased ecosystem service benefits for human society.


This work was authored as part of the Contributor's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.

Published 2014 by Taylor & Francis at



Persistent Identifier