Wetland, Stream Bank, and Shoreline Restoration
Half-Day Training Course
A Review of Design, Construction, Stabilization and Vegetation Establishment Practices for Natural Channel Design Stream Restoration Efforts
HALF DAY WORKSHOP: Streams and rivers serve a variety of recreational, aesthetic, life support and ecological functions. Often streams are the most heavily impacted ecosystems due in a large part because of their downstream location in the landscape. Human-induced disturbances such as channelization, urbanization or removal of streamside vegetation can trigger stream instability that leads to a process of stream bed incision and streambank erosion. Ecosystems of incised channels suffer adverse impacts due to elevated sediment loads, hydrological modifications associated with the isolation of the stream from its floodplain and the loss of stream habitat structures such as pools, riffles, woody debris, undercut banks, etc. In addition, incision leads to reduced spatial habitat heterogeneity, greater temporal instability, less stream-floodplain interaction, reduced hydraulic retention, degradation of water quality, stream channel enlargement and shifts in the fish community structure. Incision not only lowers the base level for a channel, but also for all of its tributaries, thus destabilizing the entire watershed.
Since the 1970’s the focus of federal, state and local government agencies as well as the general public has shifted from channelizing and culverting streams to restoring and enhancing their ecological, water quality and aesthetic functions. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers restoration as an integral part of a broad, watershed-based approach for achieving federal, state, and local water resource goals. Nationally over $1 billion is spent each year on stream restoration projects in the United States. Today, many ecological restoration practitioners restore streams using a natural channel design approach. In an attempt to attain equilibrium, natural channel design focuses on rebuilding characteristics found in high quality reference streams that are believed to be linked to equilibrium, including a properly sized bankfull channel, adequate floodplain width, meanders, riffles, and pools. In-structures for enhancing stability, habitat and flow diversity and establishment of a healthy riparian plant community are also critical elements of a natural channel design stream restoration effort.
This half-day workshop will provide an overview of stream restoration using natural channel design techniques. Specifics of how projects are designed, constructed, installed and maintained will be covered with a focus on soil stabilization and erosion prevention. Case studies of restoration projects will be reviewed. Design and installation techniques for rock, log and vegetated structures for stabilizing streambanks will be provided. In addition, the workshop will review development of planting plans, plant material installation and maintenance protocols for stream restoration including ecological assessment, soil analysis, vegetation selection, soil amelioration, salvage of existing vegetation, seeding, planting protocols, irrigation, invasive species management, herbivory issues and short and long-term maintenance practices.