Abstract: May 30  2:00 PM (BACK)

Framework for Success in Planning, Assessing, and Restoration

Will Harman, PG
Stream Mechanics
Raleigh, NC 27606

Stream restoration has many meanings. Some define restoration as a return to pre-disturbed conditions. Others take a broader approach and define restoration as the improvement of stream functions to a reference condition. The range of definitions for stream function is often based on the person’s academic and professional background. For example, biologists think of functional improvements to biology and engineers often think of functional improvements to hydrology or hydraulics. These diverse viewpoints about restoration and function create significant challenges for developing stream restoration plans with realistic and quantifiable goals and objectives.

The Stream Functions Pyramid Framework was created to provide an organized thought process for developing stream restoration project goals, function-based assessments, and restoration plans. The framework organizes stream functions into a pyramid-shaped hierarchy with higher-level functions supported by lower-level functions. This framework will be presented along with example applications on how to overcome the misconceptions associated with stream restoration terminology.

The framework will also be used as guide for matching a restoration approach with a given watershed or reach-scale impairment.  There are several different types of restoration approaches, including: natural channel design, valley restoration, bio-engineering, regenerative design, and more. Sometimes, practitioners and agencies who fund restoration are so attached to one approach they don’t realize that a different approach may be a better solution for a given problem. Common water quality problems in the San Antonio region include: loss of base flow, high bacteria levels, and channel instability. Examples of how to match the various restoration approaches to these common water quality problems will be provided during the presentation.