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Stream Restoration: What Works and What Doesn't Work

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Instructor Information:

Douglas Shields, Ph.D

Course Length: 1 Hour

This webinar was co-sponsored by ASCE's Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI) and ASCE Continuing Education.

Purpose and Background

This webinar will provide a synthesis of available data regarding effectiveness of selected stream restoration approaches, identifying key factors that lead to success or failure. 

Stream restoration is widely practiced in developed countries, with annual expenditures in the U.S. exceeding $1 billion. However, few projects are monitored, and many that have been monitored have performed poorly. Accordingly, the ability of stream restoration engineers to deliver promised benefits is in question. This webinar will provide a synthesis of available data regarding effectiveness of selected stream restoration approaches, identifying key factors that lead to success or failure. These factors may be combined in an overall semi-quantitative assessment of the risk of project failure. The webinar should equip participants to produce stream restoration projects that more closely approach stakeholder expectations.

Primary Discussion Topics

  • Effectiveness of selected stream restoration approaches
  • Key factors that lead to success or failure of stream restoration
  • Well researched methods that yield the greatest success
  • Methods that rarely work

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify key factors that contribute to stream restoration project success
  • Be able to list several proven stream restoration techniques
  • Be able to identify "promising" but not yet proven approaches
  • Be able to develop semi-quantitative project risk assessments

Webinar Benefits

  • Learn about latest meta-reviews of stream restoration effects research
  • Reduce project outcome uncertainty
  • Educate stakeholders regarding difficulty of stream ecosystem restoration so that they have realistic expectations regarding project outcomes
  • Learn about the types of projects that have proven most effective in producing desired ecological outcomes
  • Avoid selecting restoration design approaches that have poor track records of success
  • Consider recent innovative ideas for new stream restoration approaches
  • Learn about recently published research on stream restoration effects

Intended Audience

  • Hydraulic Engineers
  • Hyrdologists
  • Geomorphologists
  • Designers
  • Biologists and Ecologists
  • Planners and project managers

Webinar Outline

  • Introduction, overview, objectives
  • Where's the beef? What research studies on restoration benefit delivery have shown
  • Shooting fish in a barrel: some things that almost always work
  • Snake oil for sure: some things that hardly ever work
  • Ideas someone should try