Assessing freshwater ecosystems for resource management and protection

Aquatic ecosystems are highly vulnerable to increasing threats of pollutants, urban development and climate change. Multidisciplinary experts at the RTI Center for Water Resources provide fully integrated solutions that combine water quality, social science and biological perspectives to analyze and protect healthy ecosystems. Our decades of work in this sector have increased our understanding of the critical link between ecosystem function and water resources, as well as the fundamental value of ecosystem services for society. This insight has led to concrete benefits, such as frameworks for protective regulation and new land conservation investments. We have supported federal and state agencies, watershed management groups, utilities and conservation-focused nongovernmental organizations—including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State of North Carolina, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

We offer a range of services to improve the understanding and protection of hydro-ecological systems; these services include the following:

Ecosystem Services
The earth’s freshwater resources and ecosystems are natural assets, and their value to society depends on how they are managed and protected. We provide decision-makers with sophisticated, practical decision support tools and analyses to help quantify this value and prioritize investments in the face of uncertain future conditions and competing demands for water.

Ecological Flows
The stream conditions required to sustain a healthy, functioning freshwater ecosystem depend heavily on the quantity and quality of streamflow. We provide hydrologic and biological modeling, analysis and measurement frameworks to determine ecological flow conditions.

Water Quality and Quantity
The quality and quantity of water in rivers and streams significantly impacts ecosystem health and all aspects of water use and management. Our water quality and quantity services include risk assessment, monitoring, data management, modeling and regulatory support.

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