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The Fourth Annual California Water Symposium

The Fourth Annual California Water Symposium

Sawmill dam and bridge on the Klamath River, late 19th century

Sawmill dam and bridge on the Klamath River, late 19th century

Saturday 10 May 2008
112 Wurster Hall
University of California, Berkeley

This symposium presents results from graduate student research in hydrology applied to environmental restoration and conservation in California. It includes a panel discussion by experienced professionals who comment on the student research papers and the broader themes raised. The symposium begins with a talk by a well-known authority on water issues, this year BJ Miller presenting "Science and Activism: Fish Protection in the Bay-Delta of California."

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

SCHEDULE

845a Welcome and Keynote: Science and Activism: Fish Protection in the Bay-Delta of California / BJ Miller, Consulting Engineer

930a  Student Research Presentations

  • Impacts of Urbanization on Peak Flow Using Remote Sensing / John Dingman
  • A Watershed Approach to Urban River Restoration: A Conceptual Restoration Plan for Sausal Creek / Teresa Ippolito, Kristen Podolak, Katie Jagt, Tiago Teixeira, Eike Flebbe
  • Unpaving the Way to Creek Restoration: EU Water Framework Directive in a US Urban Watershed / Hong Li and Jane Wardani
  • A Decade of Changes in the Wildcat Creek Flood Control Channel, North Richmond / Ben Ginsberg
  • Comparing Perspectives on Dam Removal: York Creek Dam and the Water Framework Directive / Justin Lawrence, Josh Pollak and Sarah Richmond
11a Coffee Break
1115a  Student Research Presentations
  • River Restoration for a Socially and Ecologically Devastated Border City / Noah Friedman
  • Land Cover and Channel Form Change Detection in the Okavango River Watershed / Yu-Ting Huang
  • Mercury and methylmercury in the San Francisco Bay area: land-use impacts and indicators / Hyojin Kim
  • Accountability in Emerging Forms of Governance: A Comparison of the California Bay-Delta Process and the Water Framework Directive / Noelle Cole, Tamar Cooper, Sarah Bickel Di Vittorio, Nuno Oliveira
  • When the levees break: Relief cuts and flood management in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta / Lindsey Fransen, Jessica Ludy, and Mary Matella
1245p Panel discussion: Lauren Hammack (Prunuske Chatahm), BJ Miller (Consulting Engineer), Manny DaCosta (Alameda County Public Works Agency)

ABSTRACTS

Impacts of Urbanization on Peak Flow Using Remote Sensing / John Dingman
The Tassajara Valley, east of the City of San Ramon, California has been under going considerable residential development. Development in the Tassajara Valley could be impacting the volume of water in the streams which may increase the risk of flooding. The impacts of urbanization on stream peak flow in two neighboring watersheds were compared. The first, an urban watershed with 32 percent development, the other, a rural watershed with 6 percent development by land area. Development of land area was defined as impervious materials such as paved roads, roofs, sidewalks, and parking lots. Twenty-eight meter Landsat imagery was used with maximum likelihood classification algorithm to delineate urban-developed areas from rural non-developed land. Using the Rantz Method, the peak flow was calculated for 2, 10, 25, and 50 year return intervals for the two drainage basins. At the catchment of the watershed, a cross-sectional profile was recorded including high-water marks. From the high-water marks, peak flow calculations were determined using the Manning’s equation.

A Watershed Approach to Urban River Restoration: A Conceptual Restoration Plan for Sausal Creek / Teresa Ippolito, Kristen Podolak, Katie Jagt, Tiago Teixeira, Eike Flebbe
Current river restoration emphasizes in-stream morphological modifications, masking the symptoms, but often failing to address the sources of degradation. The main source of river degradation in urban areas is increased impervious surfaces resulting in non-natural flow regimes. In contrast to the current emphasis of U.S. river restoration, the goals and structure of the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) hold the potential to promote a new paradigm for river restoration in which causes of hydromorphologic degradation due to urbanization are addressed on a watershed scale. Using the WFD, we developed a conceptual restoration plan for the Sausal Creek Watershed that attempts to mimic the natural flow regime through the incorporation of low impact development (LID) across the watershed; in conjunction, we proposed in-stream projects necessary to enhance biology. Our analysis focused on impervious surface as a pressure impacting hydromorphology and ecology in Sausal Creek. Our results show that urbanization drastically increased run-off, by 40 million cubic feet. This implies a drastic change in infiltration. Economic analysis indicates that the costs of LID measures are comparable to in-stream restoration and would address the source of the problem, altered hydrology. We suggest that restoration of creeks in the broader East Bay region would benefit from administrative arrangements, systematic water body characterization and a status scheme similar to the WFD. We also suggest that the watershed-scale restoration proposal for Sausal Creek provides a framework for urban creek restoration in the East Bay.

Unpaving the Way to Creek Restoration: EU Water Framework Directive in a US Urban Watershed / Hong Li and Jane Wardani
EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) provides a framework for the protection, improvement and restoration of water bodies across Europe. However, in urbanized areas where the drainage network has been engineered for flood conveyance and floodplains have been densely developed, the cost of restoration is usually disproportionate to the ecological benefits such restoration would provide. This project applies the EU WFD to the densely urbanized Lower Sausal Creek Watershed in Oakland, California. While the EU WFD provides economic insight, recent popularity of stormwater intervention strategies in US urban areas offer short-term alternatives to creek restoration with immediate community benefits. Our Lower Sausal Creek Watershed Stormwater Management Plan addresses stormwater pollution through small, cost-effective landscape features at the lot level. The strategies include retention/conveyance swales with trees, neighborhood trees, large lot interventions and the use native plants, the combination of which would deal with 100% of 2-year storm events in the lower watershed as well as allow partial detention of larger storms.

A Decade of Changes in the Wildcat Creek Flood Control Channel, North Richmond / Ben Ginsberg
The lower Wildcat Creek flood control and riparian restoration project was one of the first of its kind and is commonly cited in literature on river restoration. The project was initially constructed in 1989 but was reworked in 2000. The project consists of small low flow channel which meanders through a riparian corridor which is adjacent to a larger flood plain. Contra Costa County conducted yearly cross-sectional surveys of the channel until the year 2005 when they abruptly stopped. These surveys were instrumental in determining morphological changes to the channel due to deposition of sediment and scouring of the channel. Survey data was crucial in determining whether sediment removal was necessary to keep the project functioning. I went out to the project site in early May 2008 to survey six cross-sections of the channel. These cross-sections were compared to cross-sections from previous years, at the same locations, and it was determined that channel morphology is continuing to change. Sediment has been building up on the flood control plain and scouring has occurred in the low flow channel. In order to better understand what maintenance must be done to keep the project working to its full potential the practice of annually surveying the channel must continue.

Comparing Perspectives on Dam Removal: York Creek Dam and the Water Framework Directive / Justin Lawrence, Josh Pollak and Sarah Richmond
Many of the dams that were built around the world in the past century no longer provide any benefit and often pose ecological and safety concerns. A lack of a clear regulatory framework and scientific understanding of the impacts of dam removal has handicapped many efforts to remove such outmoded dams in California. Interviews and fieldwork on the York Creek Dam in St. Helena, California illustrate these difficulties and reveal opportunities for improvement under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). A comparative analysis shows how the watershed-based management and scientific monitoring offered by the WFD provides valuable lessons that can be utilized for dam removal in California.

River Restoration for a Socially and Ecologically Devastated Border City / Noah Friedman
In the late 1960s the United States of America and los Estados Unidos de Mexico agreed to construct a trapezoidal concrete channel to convey flood waters along the Tijuana River, through the urbanized area of Tijuana, north across the international border and on to the Pacific Ocean 5 miles to the west (Brown 1998). In 1973 the Mexican portion of this flood channel was completed. A growing environmental awareness in the United States prevented the concrete channel from continuing across the border and led to the creation of the Tijuana National Estuarine Research Reserve (Zedler, Nordby & Kus 92). The trapezoidal concrete channel that passes through the heart of Downtown Tijuana is designed to convey a flood of 135,000 cfs (International Boundary & Water Commission). The greatest peak flow that has passed through since its construction was 33,500 cfs in February 1980. This is the greatest peak flow recorded at the Tijuana, Nestor gage during its 46 years of operation from 1937 to 1982 (USGS). The Nestor Gage is located at the transition from the concrete channel to the Tijuana Estuary, now one of the last remnants of the natural California coast line left in existence. Over thirty years later the Tijuana National Estuarine Research Reserve sits in stark contrast to the concrete channel that lies just south of the border. The quality of life for the residents of Tijuana is markedly lower than for their neighbors to the north (Lynch and Appleyard 1974). Revealing the economic inequalities, ecological devastation and social disparities that exist along the border, the Tijuana River Watershed straddles the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico. At the heart of any solution for an ecologically and socially sustainable future for this region is the restoration of the Tijuana River. Increasing livability and eliminating the negative impacts of human settlement on natural systems will provide a sustainable future for this socially and ecologically devastated border city. There is a growing body of evidence that urban river restorations can perform exactly these functions.

Land Cover and Channel Form Change Detection in the Okavango River Watershed / Yu-Ting Huang
The Okavango delta (Botswana) is the most important wetland area in Africa. The area draining to the delta is 165,000 km2, of which 82% is in Angola. During the Angolan civil war (1975-2002), the population fled the Okavango river watershed. After the war, peasants have gradually returned, and we would expect them to alter the land cover. I analyzed remotely sensed data to see if I could detect changes in channel form of the river resulting from land-use changes. I used MODIS images (2000-2007) to detect the spatial and temporal distribution of land cover change; the area considered as land cover change is where the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index difference from year 2000 is over 20%. I measured the channel as it appeared on April 1990 and August 2001 Landsat images near Savate (6.4 km under study), where land cover changes most. The average shoreline development ratios (SDR) of the river were 1.38 and 3.53 in 1990 and 2001 respectively. The average elongations of the riparian zone were 0.72 and 1.36, respectively, and 0.89 on the April 2007 Google Earth image. Given the resolution of the imagery and the scale of the river channel, it is unclear whether the apparent changes are changes to channel geometry or simply different degrees of wetting reflecting differences in precipitation among the years observed. The nearest weather station (in Rundu Station) recorded 547, 404, and 159 mm in 1990, 2001, and 2007, respectively. (Data were incomplete, especially for 2007).

Mercury and methylmercury in the San Francisco Bay area: land-use impacts and indicators / Hyojin Kim
In this study, I analyzed the impact of land-use on mercury and methylmercury in the San Francisco Bay area and I explored correlations of mercury and methylmercury with various water quality indicators using water and sediment quality data from the Regional Monitoring Program. To understand the relationships of land-use and water and sediment quality with mercury and methylmercury concentrations, I conducted a correlation coefficient analysis using Microsoft EXCEL 2007. In the San Joaquin Delta watershed and the Suisun Bay watershed, heavy metals showed strong relationship with methylmercury. Developed land uses such as industrial, commercial services and urban built-up had a strong relationship with methylmercury, while agricultural land uses generally had a negative relationship with methylmercury. Mercury and methylmercury had a strong positive relationship with clay, silt, and fine sand. Mercury had significant negative correlation with pH and significant positive correlation with silver. Methylmercury was strongly related to temperature and total nitrogen. Although underestimated in this study, strip mines had a fairly strong correlation with mercury, indicating that they may be a major source of mercury to the San Francisco Bay. Restoration efforts should target areas with developed land-use, high clay, silt, fine sand and heavy metals.

Accountability in Emerging Forms of Governance: A Comparison of the California Bay-Delta Process and the Water Framework Directive / Noelle Cole, Tamar Cooper, Sarah Bickel Di Vittorio, Nuno Oliveira
Water resource governance in California is characterized by complex jurisdictional relationships and overlap between agencies tasked with specific mandates for different issues. This is nowhere more true than in the California Delta, where critical needs such as flood control do not fall exclusively within the purview of any one entity and must be addressed through coordination and collaboration at multiple scales. Yet CALFED, a recent effort to produce integrated, collaborative governance in the Delta, has had mixed results. In this paper, we inquire into the operation of accountability within the existing governance system in the Delta. As a thought experiment we ask how accountability would function in a hypothetical governance system that incorporates principles from the European Water Framework Directive (EWFD) into the context of the Delta. Network-based governance approaches such as CALFED blur the lines between public and private authority. They challenge traditional notions of vertical, top-down / down-up accountability and instead adopt a logic of accountability that is more horizontal, relationship-oriented, and diffused among multiple actors and organizations. We use the case of the Dutch Slough salt marsh restoration project in the Delta to understand the fragmented institutional landscape in which such projects are embedded, to ask how this landscape shapes the pathways of accountable governance, and to reflect on the rise of alternative models in the European Union that may offer lessons for California. The case study reveals the need for governance efforts to more effectively embed both vertical and horizontal accountability. To understand the applicability of the WFD to California, we compare the European and American social and political contexts as they relate to water. We suggest that different views of the role of the state and non-state actors, property rights, and values associated with water shape the unique contexts in which European and American water policy can proceed. This analysis helps us to consider how concepts developed in the EWFD may be translated to California in ways that are sensitive to this country’s political context.

When the levees break: Relief cuts and flood management in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta / Lindsey Fransen, Jessica Ludy, and Mary Matella
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is one of California’s most important geographic regions because it supports significant agricultural, urban, and ecological systems, delivers water to two-thirds of California, and yet faces extremely high flood risk. Largely below sea level and supported by 1,100 miles of aging dikes and levees, the Delta system is subject to frequent flooding. Jurisdictional and financial disincentives prevent effective flood planning and coordination that might reduce both costs and damages. This study highlights one possible flood mitigation technique called a relief cut. A relief cut is an intentional break in the downslope levee to allow water that has overtopped or breached the upstream levee to drain back into the river. This flood management technique is "smart" when located in appropriate areas so that floodwaters can be managed more efficiently and safely after a levee break. We identified four key constraints to effective flood planning and make recommendations to address these issues. Constraints include: 1) Perception of flood risk-The public believes that levees will protect them from all flood events 2) Perverse incentives-For reclamation districts to finance levee maintenance and flood planning, they must encourage development in flood risk areas to collect assessment fees, 3) Litigation threat-Government agencies remain vulnerable to litigation after a flood, which is a disincentive for taking action because no one wants the blame, and 4) Reimbursement uncertainty-Historical flood accounts demonstrate local entities are not always reimbursed for their expenditures which discourages quick action during a flood. We recommend the following actions for agency endorsement and public support: 1) Acknowledge that levees will fail and plan accordingly; 2) Explicitly plan for relief cuts before the flood occurs; 3) Support interagency cooperation, and 4) Apply full cost recovery concept from the European Union Water Framework Directive.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS

William J. (B.J.) Miller
B.J. Miller is an independent consulting engineer specializing in California water problems. His clients have included many of the largest water agencies in California as well as associations of those agencies. Prior to starting his private practice in 1980, he served as Vice Chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board. As a Board member and later as a consultant, he started the SF Estuarine Institute and was instrumental in creating the Bay-Delta Modeling Forum. He was involved in negotiations leading to the Delta Accord, the December 1994 federal-state agreement on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. He has a B.E. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from U.C. Berkeley. He is a registered civil engineer in California.

Lauren Hammack
Lauren is a fluvial geomorphologist with Prunuske Chatham who has been combining technical analysis with a collaborative solution-oriented perspective on watershed assessment and planning projects for over a decade. She holds an M.S. in Watershed Science from Colorado State University, and she previously worked for the Water Resources Division of the National Park Service implementing research and monitoring programs for channel maintenance flow assessments. As a lead scientist and project manager for Prunuske Chatham, Lauren designs watershed assessment and planning projects, leads multi-disciplinary teams, performs detailed hydrologic and hydraulic analyses, and translates complex scientific data into informational products accessible to the general public. Her work has focused on providing guidance to resource managers, communities, and agencies tasked with prioritizing and implementing watershed restoration projects for instream habitat improvement.

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 since 2004 are also available on-line at http://repositories.cdlib.org/wrca/

Last modified: 5/27/2011 8:46 AM by S. Haren

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