Electronic Field Guide » Restoration & Goals » Site Restoration » Post-Restoration Success

Prepared by Patrick Drohan (Crop and Soil Sciences)

Successful restoration will entail making sure that what you desired or negotiated was achieved.  If you have negotiated that restoration take place, make sure that you require that a percentage of planting survive the first year. It is unlikely that all plants will survive, due to natural variation, odd weather, or random production problems from birds, planting damage, or browse perhaps.  In addition, it is becoming more common to specify in a lease that the soil on a percentage of the restored site will achieve a prescribed bulk density and fertility level before planting to ensure that the soil matrix is adequate for receiving plants.  

Last, more and more land owners are asking that proof of surface and subsurface drainage (in the restored depth) be provided via saturated hydraulic conductivity testing.  This test helps ensure that discontinuities or restricting layers do not exist.  Note that this test is not a percolation test used for septic tank field placement, but rather a more sophisticated test using double infiltration rings or borehole permeameters.  A percolation test (“perc test”) is not a suitable substitute.


  • Include restoration language in a lease/contractual agreement.
  • Ask for pre- vs. post-project testing to ensure that restoration has been achieved.
  • Set limits for values not to exceed for any one method.
  • Be specific on methodology and sample size/number taken.
  • Build a strong case: cite sources for numerical vegetation, infiltration, etc., goals.
No restoration is successful without long-term maintenance.  Maintenance may involve fencing, planting tubes, fertility or lime additions, plant replacement, road removal, and even some soil additions perhaps.  Soil additions are more likely where one wishes to increase the effective depth (the rooting depth) or the amount of soil organic carbon.