Archive for the ‘river restoration’ Category

If you are a member of LinkedIn and you are interested in stream and river restoration, I recommend joining the ASCE River Restoration TC group.  Over the years, there have been some great discussions swirling around restoration. Doug Shields recently posted this question:

“How do you design a stream channel for a project that includes channel reconstruction/reconfiguration?” The responses so far have been quite good and I look forward to reading more. Jim MacBroom was my former boss and his opening sentence is perfect: “The most important step is to have a clear understanding of the channel’s physical processes and how they relate to the project’s goals and objectives.” Clear, articulate and difficult to argue otherwise.



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I don’t use this blog too much for advocacy, but on March 1, 2016 the EPA and USGS released a draft report whereby public input is being solicited. Have a read and let your scientific expertise on ecology, hydrology and anthropomorphic alterations to flow be heard:


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Wendi Goldsmith is the CEO of the Bioengineering Group and has recently published a book, Bioengineering Case Studies with some her colleagues through Springer.  This book includes a number of case studies and highlights several stream bank slope stabilization techniques whereby best practice techniques were used.

The release of this book is timely as this past fall, the Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center announced in its Fall 2013 newsletter that the bank stability analysis model, BSTEM, will be incorporated into HEC-RAS.  One aspect of BSTEM that sounds intriguing is that it can compare factor of safety values for existing conditions and banks that have been subjected to stabilization methods. Until now, HEC-RAS has only been able to assess scour/incision vertically. With the incorporation of BSTEM, it seems as though lateral erosion can be modeled as well.

Another worthwhile read recently released is the MA Department of Fish & Game Division of Ecological Restoration’s 2013 Annual Report which is focused on the value of restoration and is available as a pdf here.

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Dr. Andrew Simon pulls together an excellent set of ideas in this presentation:


For several years, I’ve struggled with the idea of a reference stream. He lays out some of the problems with the approach.  I like how he introduces the idea of a hydrologic floodplain and a topographic floodplain.  I also like how he highlights the notion that “bankfull” discharge applies to a stable channel.

One of the best questions he asks is: “How does the channel respond?” Answer: “It depends”  The figure below was pulled from Janet Hooke’s 2003 Geomorphology article titled “Coarse sediment connectivity in river channel systems: a conceptual framework methodology”  I think the image does a good job of supporting Dr. Simons’ question about how a channel would respond. Clearly the spatial variability that all rivers have dictate that a thorough inspection of a site and its context within a watershed is warranted.


I also always like a presentation that goes back and explicitly states first principals in geomorphology:

Applied (Driving) Forces vs. Resisting Forces.

I was first exposed to this idea as an undergraduate at Middlebury College in the early 1990’s thanks to my advisor Jack Schmidt and it is still true as it ever was today.

I like the way Mr. Simon thinks and presents his ideas. Keeping these ideas in mind the next time a restoration project comes along would be excellent, especially at the early stages so that that all parties can better understand the river adjustment dynamics at a project site.

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Chalk one up for the American Geophysical Union (AGU). They have compiled 28 papers and assembled them in one book, and made each paper available in a downloadable pdf file.

Stream Restoration in Dynamic Fluvial Systems: Scientific Approaches, Analyses, and Tools

Despite this book’s release in 2011, I just ran across this. As such, I haven’t read much yet, but I now know what some of my night time reading will entail for the next few weeks.

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The Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development publishes Sustain – a journal of environmental and sustainability issues.  The Spring/Summer 2011 issue has six articles covering stream restoration. The articles cover groundwater and surface water connections, floodplain restoration, urban stream restoration, artificial ponds and a case study.

The full issue is available here:


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Claire Thirwall started a great discussion within the LinkedIn group River Restoration Professionals.   She posted a link to a British stream restoration guide, and several other members made subsequent contributions to links to other similar efforts from different countries.  Here’s a condensed list of those links:

The River Restoration Centre’s Manual of River Restoration Techniques

The Wild Trout Trust publications (most items are for sale)

USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Stream Restoration page (has links to several stream restoration and design guidance documents)

River Restoration Analysis Tool (River RAT)

Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans
Ecological Restoration of Degraded Aquatic Habitats: A Watershed Approach



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