Water Resource Collections and Archives


The Second Annual California Water Symposium

The Second Annual California Water Symposium

The Upper Owens River near Mammoth Lakes, California, is the principal tributary to Crowley Lake Reservoir (photo by Matt Kondolf).

The Upper Owens River near Mammoth Lakes, California, is the principal tributary to Crowley Lake Reservoir (photo by Matt Kondolf).

Saturday 7 May 2005
112 Wurster Hall
University of California, Berkeley

The symposium is free and open to the public.Sponsored by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Beatrix Farrand Fund, and the Water Resources Collections and Archives.


1:30  Student Research Presentations

  • Hydrology of Deer Creek tributaries / Lana Skrtic
  • The Impacts of Climate Change on the Hydrology of Upper Alameda Creek / Kirk Klausmeyer
  • Hydrology and geomorphology of an urban creek: Rheem Creek, Richmond and San Pablo / Carolina Balazs and Micah Lang
  • Stormwater management for Piers 94 and 96, San Francisco / Rosey Jencks
3:00 Break
3:15  Student Research Presentations
  • Distribution of bed sediment on Clear Creek after removal of Saeltzer Dam / Alicia Gilbreath and Z Clayton-Niederman
  • Assessment of active lateral and vertical erosion at the Dry Creek/ Putah Creek confluence (Solano Co.) / Jennifer Hernandez
  • Cyanobacteria and eutrophication in Crowley Lake Reservoir: Monitoring the effectiveness of Owens River restoration / Trina Mackie and Eric Zhang
4:30  Panel discussion: Robin Mark Freeman, Alex Horne, Noah Hume, and Ausaf Rahman
5:00 Reception


Hydrology of Deer Creek tributaries / Lana Skrtic
The Natural Heritage Institute, in collaboration with Friends of Deer Creek, is preparing a stream restoration proposal for Deer Creek in Nevada County, California. The restoration plan focuses on the main stem of Deer Creek between Scotts Flat Reservoir and Lake Wildwood. Establishing a clear picture of the hydrology of the creek and its tributaries is essential for drafting a restoration plan.

Deer Creek and its tributaries in the reach of the restoration project are not gauged, so there are no flow records that can be analyzed to estimate flows and to develop flood frequency curves. However, although flow records are not available for Deer Creek itself, two USGS gauges exist on Oregon Creek, a stream whose topography, elevation, orientation, and size are similar to that of Deer Creek. Therefore, Oregon Creek is an appropriate approximation for Deer Creek and I use Oregon Creek gauge data to estimate flows on Deer Creek.

I collected and analyzed survey data to estimate bankfull flows on the tributaries to Deer Creek, and used two methods to calculate flows with return intervals of 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 years. The first method is Waananen and Crippen’s regional flood frequency relation, requiring inputs of drainage area, mean annual precipitation, and an altitude index. The second method of estimating flows, developed by Hedman and Osterkamp, relies on channel geometry and on classifying a stream according to its vegetation and climate. Comparing the total discharge from the tributaries with the discharge from the mainstem of Deer Creek for each return interval of interest shows that my estimates are reasonable: for both methods, the combined flows from the tributaries are less than the flow on Deer Creek.

NHI will use the results of this analysis, along with information on the geomorphology, riparian and stream habitats, benthic macroinvertebrates, and water quality, in formulating the Deer Creek restoration plan.

The Impacts of climate change on the hydrology of upper Alameda Creek / Kirk Klausmeyer
Climate change is projected to cause important changes in both human and natural systems. Using two rainfall-runoff modeling methods, this analysis predicts the effects of climate change on the hydrology of upper Alameda Creek, a small drainage area in California’s Coast Range. Daily rainfall, temperature, and stream flow data collected from field gages for 8 years was analyzed to develop a numerical predictive model. The Army Corps of Engineers Hec-HMS model and autoregressive statistical techniques were used to minimize the difference between the predicted and the observed creek discharge. An altered temperature and precipitation regime was generated based on a worst-case climate change prediction downscaled to a 60 square mile grid. For upper Alameda Creek, annual precipitation is predicted to fall by 28.2% and annual temperature is predicted to increase by 5.2°C by 2100. The autoregressive model had the lowest error when compared to the observed data, and predicates a 22% decrease in total discharge and considerably smaller peak flows with climate change. The Hec-HMS model predicts a 46% reduction in total discharge and large reductions in peak flows with climate change. Reduced discharge and peak flows will have adverse impacts on downstream uses, including drinking water supplies for San Francisco, recreational uses at Sunol Regional Wilderness, and habitat for alluvial sycamore, California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, and other rare and endangered species.

Hydrology and geomorphology of an Urban Creek: Rheem Creek in the Context of Restoration Efforts / Carolina Balazs and Micah Lang
Rheem Creek is a three mile long urban stream, located in California’s western Contra Costa County. Since 1960, humans have impacted Rheem Creek in a number of ways, including channelization for flood control purposes and residential development. Due to the degraded state of Rheem Creek, local community groups have partnered with stream restoration organizations to clean-up and rehabilitate the Creek. Little field data exists on the qualitative conditions of the Creek itself, or on the geomorphic, hydrologic, water quality and ecological conditions at specific sites. To overcome this barrier, and serve as a resource for local restoration efforts, this study aimed to: 1) Offer an additional qualitative overview of the human impacts on Rheem Creek, 2) Quantify the hydrologic and geomorphic conditions at the Contra Costa College immediately downstream from a proposed restoration project, and 3) Conduct initial water quality tests.

This study reveals that variable conditions exist along Rheem Creek, including the presence of a 100-foot undisturbed riparian corridor, straightened and stagnant waste pools, and stormwater pipes that drain directly into the Creek. Longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys at Contra Costa College show the existence of five distinct reaches within the College grounds, and highlight the need to consider coordinated restoration efforts between the Contra Costa College and restoration groups in order to avoid passing upstream problems to downstream sites; this includes exacerbating the flooding problem on the valley flats. Results from this study will serve as a benchmark for planned upstream restoration projects and future monitoring efforts that will measure the impact of the projects over time.

Stormwater management for Piers 94 and 96, San Francisco / Rosey Jencks
I propose a conceptual design for nonstructural stormwater treatment using vegetated swales for a contaminated industrial site, Piers 92 and 94, in the Southern Waterfront in San Francisco. The site was created from landfill and remains in active industrial uses. The Port of San Francisco plans to redevelop the site with an access road and several more industrial lots, and needs to provide treatment for the ensuing contaminated runoff. To design the appropriate dimensions of the swales, I determine drainage areas, assign runoff confidents, use the rational method to calculate runoff volumes, and propose sizing and planting pallet for vegetated swales.

Distribution of bed sediment on Clear Creek after removal of Saeltzer Dam / Alicia Gilbreath and Z Clayton-Niederman
Since its removal in October 2000, nearly 40,000 m³ of sediment has eroded along the banks and incised the channel at the former Saeltzer Dam site on Clear Creek in northern California (Miller, ’04). The 4.6 m-high dam was removed to restore ten miles of upstream habitat access to spring run chinook salmon and steelhead trout. But since the dam removal, some of the eroded sediment has been deposited downstream on Renshaw’s Riffle, a stretch formerly known to be good spawning grounds, aggrading it by up to 2.5 ft. To evaluate characteristics of the sediment deposition, we performed nearly 60 pebble counts and created a facies map for a 2.3 km stretch downstream of the former dam site. We entered this data into ArcMap GIS and created maps depicting changes in percent-finer-than-8 and the d-50 of each pebble count along the length of our study area. We also focused in more narrowly at Renshaw’s Riffle and performed pebble counts for five transects that lined up with cross sectional data for the site, finding some areas of the riffle to have over 20% finer-than-8 mm composition. We attempted to correlate our results with a facies map created at the time of the removal but using a different methodology. We were unable to find an accurate way to compare across the two methodologies. We hope the pebble count serves as an easily replicable method from which to compare future surveys of the area.

Assessment of active lateral and vertical erosion at the Dry Creek/ Putah Creek confluence (Solano Co.) / Jennifer Hernandez
Putah Creek flows from the coastal range mountains to the east of the city of Davis, CA at which point it flows underground at the Yolo County Wildlife Area. The Dry Creek/Putah Creek confluence is located near the city of Winters approximately 2.4 miles downstream of the Monticello Dam. Putah Creek experienced peak flows of approximately 40,000cfs and higher prior to construction of the Monticello Dam in 1957. The geomorphic structure of Putah Creek changed as a result of post-dam low flows, channelization of portions of Putah Creek, and levee construction. Monticello Dam includes a spill valve that results in releases with approximately a 5-6 yr RI. Putah Creek can no longer accommodate the high flows that result from dam spills resulting in lateral and vertical erosion. In 2002 a restoration project plan was proposed by StreamWise for the Dry Creek/Putah Creek confluence to prevent further lateral and vertical erosion. The restoration project plan involves the following: channel relocation of Putah Creek so that it is closer to the mouth of Dry Creek, elimination of invasive plants such as Arundo, and replanting of native vegetation. Phase I, the removal of invasive vegetation, started in 2004 and is currently in progress. I conducted elevational profiles at the same cross sections documenting changes in the profile after 2 consecutive years of dam spills. There is continued lateral erosion in this reach of Putah Creek. Attempts to eradicate the non native Arundo have resulted in a decrease in plant density but not eradication. Documentation of continued erosion has implications for the proposed restoration project plan.

Cyanobacteria and eutrophication in Crowley Lake Reservoir: Monitoring the effectiveness of Owens River restoration / Trina Mackie and Eric Zhang
After being classified as eutrophic by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1975, Crowley Lake has been the subject of studies and restoration efforts to manage the nutrient load and subsequent cyanobacterial blooms. Our research project used data from the Landsat satellite images to evaluate the restoration effort implemented in 2000 along Owens River to reduce nutrient loading to Crowley Lake. We focused on the presence of cyanobacteria blooms as an indicator of the eutrophic status and nutrient concentrations in the lake. The results showed strong evidence for continued algal growth on the lake’s surface in 2002, two years after the remediation was completed. The size of the algal bloom in 2002, however was reduced from that observed via satellite in 2000. Additional data from other years is necessary to determine whether this is actually a trend or simply a result of aberrant climate or conditions unique to 2002. A field inspection was also conducted on May 1, 2005 as a source of data on current conditions in the lake.

Robin Mark Freeman is Chair of the Environmental Program at Merritt College, founding Director of both the East Bay Watershed Center and the David R. Brower, Ronald V. Dellums Institute for Sustainable Policy Studies at the Merritt College Environmental Center, where he researches social behaviors and the environment. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water as well as other State and Local boards and committees.

Alex Horne taught for 32 years in Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, establishing the program in Ecological Engineering, and teaching courses in lakes, rivers, and wetlands (and their restoration). He is author of the widely used textbook Limnology, and designer of a number of artificial wetlands for water treatment. Now "retired," he is active in international work, California projects, and devoting more time to playing music and enjoying life.

Noah Hume was originally trained as a marine engineer, but has been working in waters both salt and fresh for over 20 years, returning to graduate school and completing a PhD (Berkeley 2000) on denitrification wetlands. At Stillwater Sciences, Noah has participated in river and wetland restoration projects, emphasizing physical and water quality impacts to aquatic species. Recent and current projects include studies of Tuolumne River invertebrates and salmonid ecology, water quality and invertebrate studies on the McKenzie River (OR), watershed assessment of Redwood Creek and feasibility studies of wetland restoration at Muir Beach, and development of a method to assess habitat losses from bank revetment on the Sacramento River.

Ausaf Rahman was educated in geology and hydrology at the University of Karachi, Hawaii, and Berkeley. He taught for 25 years at National University of Singapore (Georgraphy). He now lives in the SF Bay area, teaching part-time and continuing research in water and sanitation problems in economically deprived countries. He is a member of the Stockton Water Symposium Scientific Committee, a former instructor and regular contributor to hydrology and river restoration classes at Berkeley.

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

Hydrology for Planners (Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning 222) has been offered annually since 1973, when Luna Leopold introduced the course to the Berkeley campus. This graduate-level course, taught by Associate Professor Matt Kondolf, presents an overview of relevant hydrologic, hydraulic, and geomorphic processes, to provide the planner, ecologist, architect, and environmental scientist with insight sufficient to coordinate with technical specialists in the field of hydrology. The course also reviews relevant regulations and policies, and presents case studies illustrating hydrologic principles and measurement methods. The course is not intended to duplicate more specialized courses offered in such fields as engineering hydrology, coastal engineering, or geology, but rather to provide an integrated overview. The course takes a process- and field-based approach to hydrology, and emphasizes interdisciplinary perspectives. After eight field and laboratory exercises presenting methods in the field, the students undertake a substantial independent term project involving original research. All the term projects undergo peer and instructor review, revision, and are then added to the permanent collection of the UC Water Resources Collections and Archives. Most projects are also available on-line at http://repositories.cdlib.org/wrca/

Last modified: 5/26/2011 4:25 PM by S. Haren

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