Water Resource Collections and Archives


The Seventh Annual Berkeley River Restoration Symposium

The Seventh Annual Berkeley River Restoration Symposium

Saturday 11 December 2010
112 Wurster Hall
University of California, Berkeley

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

About the Class and Symposium

Restoration of Rivers and Streams (Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning 227) has been offered annually since 1992. It is the longest-running course devoted to river restoration at a major research university. This graduate-level 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. 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 (WRCA), where they can be searched on the Melvyl catalog. Most projects are also available on-line at http://repositories.cdlib.org/wrca/

Restoration of Rivers and Streams is normally taught by Professor Matt Kondolf, but was taught this semester by Dr. Mark Tompkins.

Paul Atwood (WRCA) developed the on-line access to class research papers.


0900  Opening Remarks: Dr. Mark Tompkins, Instructor, Restoration of Rivers and Streams

0910 Keynote Address: A conceptual basis for river restoration in Northern California: bring back connectivity, complexity and variability (Professor Jeff Mount, UC Davis)

1000-1100 Student Research Presentations

  • Post project appraisal of the Winter Creek restoration, Redwood Grove, UC Botanical Gardens at Berkeley / Shannon Fiala, Kelly Janes, Ricardo Sousa
  • Post-restoration changes in bed material and channel features, Redwood Creek, Marin County: the seven-year monitoring evaluation / Richard Crockett, Fiona Cundy, Colin Hanley
  • Year One Post Project Appraisal of Nathanson Creek, Sonoma County, CA / Alanna Blough, Sarah Brady, Reuben Brandt
1100 Break

1115-1155 Student Research Presentations
  • Early post-restoration re-vegetation performance and critical social and institutional factors in a landowner-involved restoration project on lower Wooden Valley Creek, Napa County, CA / Morgan Levy and Charles Post
  • Restoration Potential of a Mining-Impacted Urban Stream: Horseshoe Branch of Lion Creek, Oakland, CA / Bethany Hackenjos, Jacob Wood, Cleo Woelfle-Erskine
  • A restoration plan for Cerrito Creek in Blake Garden, Kensington, CA / Karuna Greenberg, Pedro Pinto, Catherine Sherraden
1215 Faculty Presentation: State of the Rivers: First world restored, third world further degraded? / Professor Matt Kondolf, UC Berkeley

1240 Panel Discussion(Moderator: Mark Tompkins): Matt Kondolf, Mike Urkov, Tina Canon-Leahy, John Cain, Marcin Whitman

1300 Adjourn


Post project appraisal of the Winter Creek restoration, Redwood Grove, UC Botanical Gardens at Berkeley / Shannon Fiala, Kelly Janes, Ricardo Sousa
In fall 2009, the UC Botanical Gardens completed a restoration project on Winter Creek, an ephemeral tributary to Strawberry Creek. The project was completed in response to severe erosion caused by a culvert that threatened infrastructure in the Redwood Grove. For this term project we conducted a post-project appraisal of the Winter Creek restoration to determine whether the restoration achieved its objectives. We obtained relevant project information from the project proponents via interviews and we conducted cross section, longitudinal profile, and vegetation surveys. We also conducted hydrologic analyses to inform our interpretation of project performance. Our results show that channel geometry and longitudinal profile have not changed significantly over the first winter since the project construction was completed. Furthermore, we did not detect any significant erosion within the project site.
Post-restoration changes in bed material and channel features, Redwood Creek, Marin County: the seven-year monitoring evaluation / Richard Crockett, Fiona Cundy, and Colin Hanley
Located within an 8.9-square mile watershed in Marin County, California, Redwood Creek flows from the peaks of Mt. Tamalpais to Muir Beach, where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. The watershed supports the southernmost population of Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), as well as steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Restoration projects in 2003 and 2007 at the “Banducci Site” of Redwood Creek, a former agricultural area created in the channel's natural floodplain, were implemented to help restore salmonid populations and other local species. Restoration activities included a series of Eucalyptus large woody debris structures and excavating a pre-existing artificial levee to restore floodplain connectivity. In 2004, students from UC Berkeley performed facies mapping and photo-documentation to evaluate project performance. They characterized changes in channel morphology and concluded that one year after implementation, the installation of the large woody debris was successful in creating pools and increasing the overall habitat complexity within the reach. Additional monitoring data was collected along the Banducci site in 2005, 2006, and 2007, using cross section surveys to monitor channel morphology. Our research characterizes geomorphic complexity through facies mapping, photo-documentation, and cross section and longitudinal profile surveys of Redwood Creek in methods parallel to previous monitoring.

Year One Post Project Appraisal of Nathanson Creek, Sonoma County, CA / Alanna Blough, Sarah Brady, and Reuben Brandt
The Nathanson Creek Parkway and Preserve project spans a 1,000 foot reach of Nathanson Creek, a tributary to Sonoma Creek next to the Sonoma Valley High School grounds. The Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) entered a contract with the City of Sonoma after the creek flooded in 2006 and installed plants between November 2009 and May 2010. The purpose of this project is to analyze plant survivorship data after one year of growth and to establish baseline data on vegetation and channel morphology for future restoration monitoring.  We recorded total plant survivorship, surveyed 5 channel cross sectionals (one every 200ft.), and recorded the plants growing along each transect. We also documented incidents of vandalism and overall site conditions. After one year, the restoration site showed 64% survivorship among the flora that were planted plus broadcast seeding of the native grass Elymus glaucus. This survival rate does not meet the 80% standard set by the SEC for its restoration efforts.  Without baseline morphology data, it is too early to come to any conclusions on the relationship between the planting and the channel morphology without, but observations suggest that the re-vegetation has not yet decreased bank erosion of flooding.
Early post-restoration re-vegetation performance and critical social and institutional factors in a landowner-involved restoration project on lower Wooden Valley Creek, Napa County, CA / Morgan Levy and Charles Post
The restoration of a one-mile stretch of the lower Wooden Valley Creek on the cattle ranch owned by the McQueeny family in Napa County, California addressed denuded stream banks lacking native riparian vegetation and canopy cover that have resulted in salmonid decline through habitat degradation. A primary concern of the McQueeny restoration is the impact of high summertime stream temperatures on steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and the threat of continued bank erosion in close proximity to the McQueeny home. Existing studies for the McQueeny property, Wooden Valley Creek, and larger Suisun Creek watershed restoration describe restoration baselines, restoration process, and intended goals and outcomes. Our research aims to fill a gap in the connection between the abundance of research, design, process, and outcome data (quantitative) and rancher/landowner implementation data (qualitative). We argue that this demonstration restoration project is an example of how restoration planning, and especially post-project monitoring, may not include sufficient specific indicators or means for evaluating how landowners/stakeholders facilitate or impact restoration success. We investigate not only re-vegetation interim achievements, but also how this uniquely landowner-involved restoration process is impacted by landowner decision-making, and by largely undocumented adaptive maintenance activities independently carried out by the landowner. Our investigation suggests that these factors are critical to the potential success or failure of the project in restoring riparian vegetation, improving bank stability, and ultimately enhancing stream conditions for steelhead trout.

Restoration Potential of a Mining-Impacted Urban Stream: Horseshoe Branch of Lion Creek, Oakland, CA / Bethany Hackenjos, Jacob Wood, Cleo Woelfle-Erskine
Lion Creek is an urban stream that flows from the Oakland hills to the San Francisco Bay (California, USA). Horseshoe Creek is a tributary to Lion Creek that flows through the remnant oak and redwood forests of Horseshoe Canyon. Cumulative impacts of historical logging, sulphur mining, and urbanization have altered the stream’s hydrological and biological condition. Today, most of Horseshoe Creek’s upper and middle reaches are either culverted or transformed into an engineered channel, and Merritt College sits on top of the filled valleys that once formed its headwaters. Drawing from past studies that have assessed heavy metals distribution and transport, we assessed the root causes and hydrological and biological effects of acid mine drainage and increased impervious surface in the upper watershed. This assessment suggests a conceptual model of a sediment-limited step-pool stream that is actively eroding in several reaches, and is ecologically limited by heavy metal contamination. We present the results of a baseline geomorphic and biological analysis, identify questions for future study, and discuss restoration opportunities and constraints.

A restoration plan for Cerrito Creek in Blake Garden, Kensington, CA / Karuna Greenberg, Pedro Pinto, Catherine Sherraden
An upstream reach of Cerrito Creek, in Contra Costa County, California runs through Blake Garden, a 10.5-acre demonstration garden owned by the University of California, Berkeley. This study focuses on a 420-foot reach near the top of the garden that has a severely incised and undercut channel, undersized and deteriorating culverts, and failed bank armoring. In the spring of 2010 for LA222: Hydrology for Planners, we analyzed the hydrology of the watershed above the reach, in order to understand the flows that are likely causing incision, and modeled flow in the creek. Continuing with last semester’s work, we conducted a detailed facies map, and identified constraints and restoration opportunities along the stream channel. We placed permanent monuments on the site, generated accurate mapping of the reach, and surveyed cross-sections in the channel. Based on our cumulative understanding of the site, we propose a stream design that will arrest incision and bank failure while allowing the 100-year flood to be conveyed through the channel by either reducing velocity below scouring thresholds or by protecting the banks. We achieve this by creating step-pool sequences in the actively incising sections, connecting the channel to a floodplain where possible, and proposing bank protection where the channel is more constricted. The design follows our goals of enhancing wildlife habitat, and serving as an attractive design element and educational focus within Blake Garden.

State of the Rivers: First world restored, third world further degraded? / Dr. Matt Kondolf
River restoration is largely a rich country’s game: The developed world enjoys improved water quality in its streams and can thus invite children to play and expect fish to live there, but in the developing world the net change is now to degrade formerly intact ecosystems through massive land-use change and extensive dam construction. With increased living standards and education levels come increasing demand for a clean environment and for preservation and restoration of ecosystems.  Small remnants of intact ecosystems are treasured, and large investments are made to restore ecological function to ‘working rivers’ (through re-operating reservoirs, removing migration barriers, removing or setting-back levees to reconnect floodplains, etc.) and directly restoring channel complexity and riparian vegetation structure to small parcels of land. Codornices Creek in Berkeley, which drains a 2-km2 urbanized catchment, has received more than $2 million in restoration funding, thanks largely to the well-educated and involved citizenry within its catchment, and motivated by sightings of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the stream. Yet even if all the effects of urbanization were to be reversed and Codornices Creek returned to its pristine state of the early 18th century, this stream would be too small to support significant numbers of any native species, aquatic or riparian. Meanwhile, in the developing world, massive alternations are underway, converting large areas of forest into industrial agriculture, and converting free-flowing rivers in stair-steps of reservoirs.

The Mekong River is undergoing a rapid transformation from an undammed river whose seasonal floods over its longitudinally and laterally-connected channel and floodplain system naturally supported extraordinary agricultural and fisheries productivity, providing protein for a population of 60 million souls. Over 150 large dams are under construction or planned on the Mekong mainstem and tributaries, which will inevitably eliminate most migratory fish and alter seasonal flow variations, in turn reducing the productivity of rich floodplains in Cambodia and the delta in Vietnam. Eight large dams being built on the upper mainstem in China will have reduced the river’s sediment load by nearly 50%, and the cumulative sediment deficit from all planned dams will exceed 70%. The shutoff of suspended sediment will reduce agricultural productivity and fish reproduction, and accelerate the delta’s retreat through coastal erosion and flooding.

On the Yangtze River above Three-Gorges Dam, 26 dams are completed, 32 are under construction, and 50 dams are proposed on the river and tributaries. Total new hydropower production on the Yangtze will be about 200,000 MW, roughly ten times the 18,200 MW generating capacity of the Three Gorges Dam. When viewed in the context of extensive hydropower development on the upper Mekong and Salween River systems just west of the upper Yangtze in China, this represents river modification on a globally unprecedented scale. The cumulative environmental and social impacts of these dams are likely to be substantial.  However, there has been little substantive analysis of the likely cumulative impacts of the multiple-dam scenarios on river flows, sediment transport, aquatic ecology, water quality, human health, or the affected populations.

The dams are being built for hydroelectric production, financed by (mostly private) developers, for sale in China, Thailand, and Vietnam. While the demand for power in the region is widely accepted, the likely consequences to these river systems has received remarkably little international attention. When we compare the ecological benefit for the costs of the investment in restoration in Codornices Creek to the ecological loss imminent on the Mekong and Yangtze basins from the hydro-rush now underway, we can only wish that some of the resources thrown at our first-world creeks could be more effectively deployed in the developing world to save global treasures that are now, in effect, being discarded in a race for high returns by shadowy investors.

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


Jeff Mount is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Geology, and the Founding Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. He holds the Roy Shlemon Chair in Applied Geosciences, co-held the Presidents Chair in Undergraduate Education with Peter Moyle, and is the recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Scholarly Public Research Award for his contributions on issues of public concern such as flood risk, watershed management, and river restoration. Mount has served on numerous state and federal task forces and committees, has served as the Chair of the CALFED Independent Science Board, and is a former member of the California State Reclamation Board. He is the author of California Rivers and Streams: The Conflict Between Fluvial Process and Land Use (UC Press). Mount’s research and teaching interests include fluvial geomorphology, river ecology, and water resource management. His recent research has focused on management of river and streams to meet multiple ecosystem and water supply objectives. Projects that he oversees include restoring salmonids in North Coast rivers and streams, restoration of lowland floodplains and mountain meadows, adaptive management of Sierran hydropower systems in response to climate change, and assessment of alternative futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. He co-teaches a course called Ecogeomorphology with Peter Moyle. This capstone undergraduate course provides hands on, field-based, interdisciplinary training in river and stream management.

Matt Kondolf is a fluvial geomorphologist specializing in environmental river management, impacts of human development on runoff and sediment yield, and restoration of rivers and streams. He recently edited a reference work on methods in his field, Tools in Fluvial Geomorphology (Wiley 2003), and has conducted research throughout California and other Mediterranean-climate regions. Dr. Kondolf is Professor of Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley, where he teaches courses in hydrology, river restoration, and environmental sciences. He was a principal investigator in the National River Restoration Science Synthesis project, a national-level study of river restoration, a member of the Federal Interagency Levee Policy Committee, a member of the National Research Council Committee on Hydrology, Ecology, and Fishes of the Klamath River Basin, and the Environmental Advisory Board to the Chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Dr. Kondolf was a co-author of the CALFED Ecosystem Restoration Program Strategic Plan and served on the program’s science board until 2005. He also developed the restoration flow regime for the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam adapted in recent settlement negotiations to restore salmon in the San Joaquin.

Mike Urkov is a Senior Project Manager for NewFields International, LLC. Mr. Urkov has managed several major fishery restoration projects in California. On the Trinity River, Mr. Urkov managed the environmental review of the mainstem river restoration. Lead agencies included US Bureau of Reclamation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Trinity County, and the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe. Mainstem restoration included both physical channel rehabilitation and an increase in river flows. Increased flows resulted in a reduction in water available for export to the Central Valley where it is used for power generation, agricultural use, and environmental flows. This controversial project was eventually subject to review in federal court. Since implementation in 2001, the restoration program has been described as an “evolving success story.” Mr. Urkov also managed the Fish Passage Improvement Project at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam on the Sacramento River. The Red Bluff Diversion Dam was constructed in 1964 both as a source of agricultural water supply and as a fishery enhancement facility. By lowering large gates into the river, the Diversion Dam is able to divert water by gravity into the conveyance canals; however, the gates also impede fish passage. Project operations were subject to a challenge in federal court under the Endangered Species Act, where Mr. Urkov provided testimony explaining the impact of the dam and the schedule for construction of the improvement project. The $200 million improvement project is currently under construction and was the subject of the largest stimulus award in the Department of the Interior. When complete, the gates will be raised year round, eliminating a major fish barrier on the Sacramento River, while providing a reliable water supply for agriculture. Currently, Mr. Urkov is acting as an independent reviewer of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan on behalf of the Delta Stewardship Council.

Tina Canon-Leahy is the Principal Consultant for the California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. The primary jurisdictions of the Committee are water resources, flood management, fish and game, parks and recreation, and wildlife. Prior to coming to the Assembly, Ms. Leahy was Senior Staff Counsel to the California Department of Fish and Game assigned to Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water management and endangered species law and policy issues, including the CALFED Bay Delta Program and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process. The Delta serves as the critical crossroads of California's water delivery infrastructure and is relied upon to provide, at least in part, irrigation water for the Central Valley agriculture and domestic water to over 22 million Californians. It is also the most valuable estuary on the west coast supporting more than 750 wildlife species, more than 120 species of fish, and one of the state's largest commercial and recreational fisheries. As such, it is at the heart of California's most pressing water conflicts. Prior to public service, Ms. Leahy was an associate attorney with the law firm of Somach, Simmons, and Dunn. She is the Vice-Chair of the California State Bar Association's Environmental Law Section and is a former chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association Environmental Law Section. She is a graduate of King Hall, the University of California, Davis, School of Law.

John Cain works to restore California's rivers and the Delta of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers by reconnecting these systems to their floodplains. John believes that reconnecting rivers and floodplains will enhance fisheries, cleanse water, and better protect people from floods. John joined American Rivers in 2009. He previously served as the Director of Restoration Programs at the Natural Heritage Institute in San Francisco for 12 years where he specialized in ecological restoration and water resources management in California's Bay-Delta watershed.  He has advocated, analyzed, and planned tidal marsh and river restoration projects in the Delta and San Joaquin River resulting in the 1,200 acre Dutch Slough tidal marsh restoration project and key technical contributions to the historic San Joaquin River Settlement. He served as a member of the Delta Vision stakeholder committee, and was co-chair of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Habitat Technical Team. He currently serves as the co-chair of both the BDCP Integration team and the Habitat Operations technical team. He conducted graduate research on the hydrology and geomorphology of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam and later consulted to both NRDC and the Friant Water Users Authority on restoration of the river. He previously served as the staff scientist for the Mono Lake Committee where he participated in the Mono Lake water rights hearings and served on the committee overseeing restoration of Rush and Lee Vining Creeks. He holds a bachelors degree in physical geography and a masters degree in environmental planning from U.C. Berkeley.

Marcin Whitman started his career in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, consulting to the offshore oil industry and the Department of Defense, but soon felt he could make a more meaningful contribution working on the interface between fisheries and engineering. After getting his graduate degree, he started the engineering department for the Southwest Region of NMFS where he worked for nearly 10 years with some international consulting interspersed. Since mid-1998 he has been the coastal engineer for CDFG, specializing in salmonid fish passage but often finding himself drawn into issues of fluvial geomorphology. Marcin holds degrees in Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering, Aquaculture Engineering and Marine Biology. He is also a member of the World Aquaculture Society and Aquaculture Engineering Society. Has served on various technical committees for professional organizations and authored papers for same. Current emphasis of practice includes dam removal, passage at road crossings and fish ladders.

Mark Tompkins is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley, and the instructor for Restoration of Rivers and Streams. He is also the principal engineering geomorphologist and one of the founders of NewFields River Basin Services, LLC. Mark’s academic research focuses on the role of floodplain connectivity in river restoration and flood management. His areas of expertise include fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, hydraulics, sediment transport, ecological engineering, and environmental planning, and most of his work has focused on river basin management efforts including river restoration, riverfront revitalization, flood management, sustainable river infrastructure design, and hydroelectric relicensing. Mark is a Switzer Foundation Fellow and is currently working with American Rivers through a Switzer Leadership Program grant on integrating ecosystem improvements in the Central Valley Flood Management Planning process. Mark has taught graduate-level and professional courses in river restoration, and published and presented his research in peer-reviewed journals, books, and at conferences. In addition, Mark is a regular contributor of photo-illustrated articles on recreational angling, river conservation, and other watershed-related topics to a variety of popular magazines. Mark earned BS and MS degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Restoration at UC


Deer Creek, California, where floodplain reconnection has been proposed to restore channel complexity and aquatic and riparian habitat. Photo by Mark Tompkins.

Deer Creek, California, where floodplain reconnection has been proposed to restore channel complexity and aquatic and riparian habitat. Photo by Mark Tompkins.

Last modified: 6/8/2011 1:12 PM by S. Haren

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