Water Resource Collections and Archives


The Fourth Annual Berkeley River Restoration Symposium

The Fourth Annual Berkeley River Restoration Symposium

Saturday 9 December 2006
112 Wurster Hall
University of California, Berkeley

Sponsored by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (Beatrix Farrand and Child Funds), and the Water Resources Collections and Archives. Free and open to the public.

ABOUT THE CLASS: Restoration of Rivers and Streams (LA227)

Taught since 1992 (the longest-running course devoted to river restoration at a major research university), this course emphasizes understanding of underlying goals and assumptions of restoration and integration of science into restoration planning and design. Students review restoration plans and evaluate completed projects. In addition to lectures and discussions by the instructor, students, and an extraordinary set of guest lecturers drawn from the active restoration community, the principal course requirement is an independent term project involving original research and a presentation at this Symposium. The term projects are peer-reviewed, revised, and ultimately added to the permanent collection of the UC Water Resources Collections and Archives. Restoration of Rivers and Streams is normally taught by Professor Matt Kondolf, but was taught this semester by Mark Tompkins. Paul Atwood (Water Resources Collections and Archives) developed the website and on-line access to class research papers. Funds for refreshments and reproduction of this Program were graciously provided by CH2M HILL.


8.00a Registration


  • KEYNOTE: Considering scale in river restoration / Phil Williams
  • Post-project appraisal of the Martin Canyon Creek restoration project / Jesse Roseman and Wayne Wagner
  • Post-project appraisal of the East Branch Alamo Creek realignment project / Randi Adair and Patricia Perasso
  • The Berkeley Creeks Ordinance:
  • Part I: From the old ordinance to the new ordinance / John Roberts
  • Part II: Current conditions in Berkeley’s creeks / Shawn Chartrand
10.30a Break
  • Baxter Creek Gateway Park: Assessment of an urban stream restoration project / Judd Goodman, Kevin Lunde, and Theresa Zaro
  • A Restoration Plan for Islais Creek, San Francisco, CA / Lucas Griffith
  • Using LIDAR to assess rivers and streams and monitor restoration projects / Toby Minear
11.50a  Panel discussion: Matt Kondolf, Jeff Miller, John Roberts, Shawn Chartrand
12.30p  Adjourn


Post-project appraisal of the Martin Canyon Creek Restoration Project  / Jesse Roseman, Wayne Wagner
Martin Canon Creek drains 1.08 mi² near the City of Dublin, California. In 1999 a restoration project consisting primarily of erosion control and gradient control structures was completed on Martin Canyon Creek. We conducted a post-project appraisal (PPA) of the Martin Canyon Creek Restoration Project, comparing current conditions with the project’s listed goals and as-built conditions. We took photos of erosion control structures and grade control structures at established photo monitoring points and compared them with as-built photos to qualitatively compare and evaluate performance of structural components of the project. In addition, we surveyed a longitudinal profile and a selected cross section to compare current channel slopes and geometry with pre-project and as-built conditions. The project is largely performing as designed in terms of protecting neighboring structures, although some bank stabilization structures show signs of deterioration. Grade control structures also appear to be stable and performing as designed, with significant local sedimentation upstream of most grade control structures. However, Grade Control Structure #4 shows significant signs of deterioration and could be prone to failure without maintenance in the near term. We suspect that the deterioration of this structure is related to its location in a bend and a downstream channel slope that exceeds stated design guidelines, however further research is required to fully understand the performance of this structure. Overall the dynamic equilibrium slope that guided the design of the project appears to have been achieved with fewer structures than originally proposed.

Post-project appraisal of the East Branch Alamo Creek realignment project / Randi Adair, Patricia Perasso
The East Branch of Alamo Creek drains a small watershed in the Windermere Estates subdivision near San Ramon, California. A channel relocation and step-pool creation project designed by Philip Williams and Associates was constructed on the East Branch of Alamo Creek in 2001. The project also included revegetation and creation of off-channel floodplain wetland areas. We evaluated the performance of this project, primarily with respect to its objectives to stabilize creek banks, reduce channel incision, and decrease sediment loads in the creek, particularly in light of recent urbanization in the creek’s watershed. Our study, conducted in November 2006, tracked fluvial geomorphological changes to determine the success of the restoration project given its stated goals. We surveyed channel cross sections and a longitudinal profile and conducted qualitative assessments of vegetation conditions along restored sections of the creek. We also looked at supporting design documentation used to justify the restoration project in order to assess whether the plan was appropriate and adequate for addressing pre-project degradation. We found that despite some localized bank erosion and channel bed scouring, the creek has remained relatively stable and has not incised or migrated excessively. We also concluded that although this project was a functional solution for controlling a creek in an urban area, the project did not truly restore the creek to a natural, healthy condition; rather it created a new creek corridor that is still adjusting in response to local hydrology and succession of vegetation.

Baxter Creek Gateway Park: Assessment of an urban stream restoration project / Judd Goodman, Kevin Lunde, Theresa Zaro
We conducted a post-project evaluation of the Baxter Creek Gateway Restoration Project located in a small, urbanized section of creek in the City of El Cerrito, Contra Costa County, California. The project was conducted to restore sinuosity, provide aquatic and riparian habitat, and enhance public access to a 700-foot section of channelized stream. Our assessment of this project’s performance (completed less than a year after the project was constructed) evaluated the restoration effort’s progress and provides a baseline for future assessments of the project as it matures. Assessment approaches and techniques included physical surveys of the creek’s longitudinal profile and several cross sections, facies mapping of the creek’s bed structure, estimation of a sediment budget for the site’s drainage basin, observations of site users, interviews with community stakeholders, visual evaluation of vegetation success rates, and photo documentation of current site conditions. We found that the creek’s planform was similar to the plans but detected some bank erosion as well as bed material transport from the upstream to downstream end of the project. The current sediment yield for the urban catchment is much less than during historical conditions. Based on bed structure measurements, sediments will need to be managed at the site as frequently occurring flows were predicted to move bed sediment in the restored reach. The quality of potential vegetative and aquatic habitat within the project site has increased as a result of the restoration, but the site’s surrounding culverted creek and urbanized landscape limit the feasibility of fish and amphibian colonization. Exotic riparian vegetation grew prolifically despite the fact that crews removed all vegetation during construction, planted only natives, and a citizen group frequently removed invasives. The multi-use trail and interpretive signs contributed to a successful recreational community space, but the trail needs improvements in connectivity beyond the project site. The existing monitoring plan for the restoration project includes important abiotic and biotic factors, but we recommend installing a permanent stream gauge at the site, monitoring flood overflow conveyance in adjacent streets, conducting physical surveys of the longitudinal profile and established cross sections, and regular facies mapping.

A Restoration Plan for Islais Creek, San Francisco, CA / Lucas Griffith
Historically water accumulated on the shallow soils of the San Bruno Mountains and flowed into Islais Creek -- the largest watershed of San Francisco. Expansion and development in the watershed over the past one-hundred and fifty years altered the original character of the creek and eventually forced it into an underground combined sewer system. I developed a restoration plan for Islais Creek that recognizes the heavily urbanized context of San Francisco but provides an opportunity to restore the symbolic presence of the creek and its history. I analyzed historical maps and surveys to identify a representative baseline for the historical character of Islais Creek. and used standard hydrologic and hydraulic methods to determine a design discharge and appropriate channel geometry for a reach of daylighted and restored creek "scaled-down" to drain a small fraction of the original Islais Creek watershed. I also incorporated educational aspects in my restoration plan to provide opportunities to teach potential users of the site about fluvial processes and aquatic ecosystems, and to enrich their connections to the site.

Using LIDAR to assess rivers and streams and monitor restoration projects / Toby Minear
Terrestrial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) techniques have significant advantages over traditional survey methods, including faster data acquisition, better-resolved data, and reduced costs, yet they have not been adequately tested for river or stream applications. Together with Rune Storesund, a Ph.D. student in the UC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering program, I have been investigating the use of Terrestrial LiDAR techniques for surveying geomorphic features in rivers, including restoration projects on rivers and streams throughout the US. Preliminary results from pilot projects indicate that Terrestrial LiDAR is a significant improvement over traditional survey techniques at most sites, although sites with heavy vegetation or extensive water can pose problems and must be carefully evaluated before applying LiDAR at the site

Final papers for this course and for the course, Hydrology for Planners, can be found at the Water Resources Collections and Archives and at http://repositories.cdlib.org/wrca


Dr. Philip B. Williams is a principal and the founder of Philip Williams and Associates Ltd [PWA], an environmental hydrology consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco California. Over the last 30 years he has supervised or conducted over 500 studies related to the management and restoration of rivers, estuaries and wetlands in the western U.S. These have included some of the first creek restoration projects in the Bay Area like Wildcat Creek, the first wetland restoration long term post-project monitoring program, the planning of major restoration projects like the program to protect Mono Lake or the South Bay Salt Pond Project, tidal wetland restoration designs like the Crissy Field Project, innovative flood management plans like the flood hazard reduction alternative to the proposed Auburn dam or the Napa River Flood Management Project, and he is credited with authorship of the ‘X2’ salinity standard that dictates reservoir releases to protect estuarine resources in San Francisco Bay. Dr Williams is also the founder and former president of the International Rivers Network; has a Ph. D. in sediment hydraulics from the University of London; and is a Civil Engineer registered in California, the United Kingdom, and European Union.

John Roberts established John Northmore Roberts & Associates, a broad based independent landscape architectural practice in Berkeley, in October, 1984. He has been the lead designer and project manager for numerous public and private land management projects requiring expertise in environmental planning, design, restoration and community outreach, and has been the recipient of many awards for professional work including the Petaluma River Access and Enhancement Plan, Creeks Restoration and Trails Master Plan, Addison Street Arts District and Berkeley Poetry Walk, and Urban Design Excellence Award as consultant to Lyndon/Buchanan Associates for the 30-Year Development Agreement with Miles, Inc. and City of Berkeley. His spatial designs are influenced by a background in professional theater and his business and management skills are based on a background in economics.

Shawn Chartrand is a senior geomorphologist and hydrologist at Balance Hydrologics in Berkeley. He specializes in developing and conducting site-specific fluvial geomorphic and hydrologic studies for the management of a wide range of physical and biological resources as well as landscapes. He applies his training and expertise in geomorphology and hydraulics to assess, plan and design restoration of channels and hillslopes. He has a strong professional background in developing site-specific hydrologic and geochemical investigations of Karst Terrains and specific experience modeling fish passage conditions through riffles and urban, vegetated flood control channels. Mr. Chartrand’s skills are rounded out with 8 years experience monitoring channel geometries, streamflow and sediment transport in coastal and inland mountainous and urban channels.

Toby Minear has a B.S. in biology from Colorado College and a M.L.A. in landscape architecture from UC Berkeley. His master's thesis looked at southern steelhead habitat and sediment dynamics in Matilija Creek, Southern California. He is now a doctoral student in the school of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley and a 2005 CALFED Science Fellow. His current research examines the long-term effects of dam operations on the physical characteristics of downstream river channels in the Central Valley of California.

G. Mathias (Matt) Kondolf is a fluvial geomorphologist whose research focuses on environmental river management (especially Mediterranean-climate rivers), influences of mining and dams on rivers, geomorphic influences on habitat for salmon and trout, alternative flood management strategies, and ecological restoration. He is involved in assessments of river restoration in California and nationally, and is a member of the Environmental Advisory Board to the Chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers. As an Associate Professor of Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, he teaches courses in hydrology, river restoration, and Mediterranean-climate landscapes.

Jeff Miller is the founder of the Alameda Creek Alliance and has served as the organization's Executive Director since 1997. Jeff also works full-time with the Center for Biological Diversity writing endangered species listing petitions and working on biodiversity issues and endangered species protection throughout California.

Mark Tompkins completed a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning under Matt Kondolf at UC Berkeley in May 2006. His dissertation research focused on implications of floodplain connectivity for river management and restoration, and performance of compound channels for environmentally-sensitive urban flood management. Mark has B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois and is a registered Civil Engineer in California. He was a full-time consultant for eight years with CH2M HILL where he worked on a variety of river management and restoration projects including FERC relicensing studies on the Klamath River, flow regime studies on the Sacramento River, and river restoration master planning for Four Mile Run in Alexandria, Virginia. Mark is currently an independent consultant working on a feasibility study of alternative flood management approaches for Deer Creek in the northern Central Valley and continues to consult part-time with CH2M HILL. He will be teaching the California Water Colloquium course at UC Berkeley in the Spring 2007 semester.

Restoration at UC


Engineered log jam in Redwood Creek, Marin County, California. October 2006. (photo by Wayne Wagner)

Engineered log jam in Redwood Creek, Marin County, California. October 2006. (photo by Wayne Wagner)

Recently restored reach of lower Codornices Creek, Alameda County, California. October 2006. (photo by Mark Tompkins)

Recently restored reach of lower Codornices Creek, Alameda County, California. October 2006. (photo by Mark Tompkins)

Natural log jam in lower Deer Creek, Tehama County, California. October 2006. (photo by Mark Tompkins)

Natural log jam in lower Deer Creek, Tehama County, California. October 2006. (photo by Mark Tompkins)

Last modified: 5/26/2011 11:16 AM by S. Haren

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