Improving springs stewardship requires assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring, all of which are best when based on rigorous, scientific inventory.
Our approach recognizes that many springs are under active anthropogenic management, use that is necessary for human well-being and often is fully intentional. While such use is fully recognized and respected, we suggest that springs can be managed sustainably to support ecosystem and landscape ecological functions as well as goods and services to the human steward(s). In general, if the aquifer is not degraded, springs ecosystems are remarkably resilient and can function well ecologically while simultaneously providing benefits to stewards. Sustainable management of springs should be a primary goal of stewardship, and while we have seen many successful examples of such stewardship, we have encountered far more springs that have been unnecessarily destroyed by poor management practices and neglect. Also, springs often can be rehabilitated or restored to an ecologically sustainable condition with relative ease or minor changes in management. Our perspective is that we should continue to work towards understanding springs ecosystem ecology and that, where used, springs should be sustainably managed for both societal and ecosystem functionality through inventory, assessment, conscientious planning, implementation, and monitoring.
One of the greatest challenges, particularly for large land areas, is information management.