About the Symposium | Schedule & Presentations | Panel Bios | Abstracts

Saturday, 6 December 2014. 9am - 3pm
Wurster Hall Auditorium (Room 112), UC Berkeley
Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning

"Two decades of river restoration in the Central Valley:
from the Bay-Delta Accord to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan"

with John Cain of American Rivers

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 Center Archives, where they can be searched on the Melvyl catalog. Most projects are also available on-line at http://escholarship.org/uc/search?entity=wrca_restoration

Restoration of Rivers and Streams is taught by Professor Matt Kondolf.


Opening Remarks

0900 Welcome, overview. Matt Kondolf, Instructor, River Restoration


0915 Two decades of river restoration in the Central Valley:
from the Bay-Delta Accord to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

John Cain, American Rivers

Graduate Student Research Presentations

1015 WPA-era riprap in Redwood Ck in Muir Woods: effects on fish habitat.
Diana Edwards, Allison Jacobson, and Suzanne Kelson

1030 Break

1045 Restoration of a reach with failing WPA-era rockwork on Sausal Creek in Dimond Park, Oakland: 13-year post-project appraisal.
Felix Ratcliff and Adrienne Marshall

1100 Peralta Creek, Oakland, 10 years on: post-project appraisal of an urban stream restoration.
Andy Chamberlain and Jenna Lohmann

1115 Assessing success of the Lake Merritt Channel Enhancement, Oakland.
Shantel Wilkerson and Sophie Taddeo

1130 Assessing geomorphic evolution of the Sunset Reach of the
Upper Truckee River, South Lake Tahoe: is the river restoring itself?

Michelle Hummel, Serin Park, and Valerie Deeter

1145 Boyle Park Creek Restoration: Post Project Assessment.
Megan Maurino and Isabel Schroeter

Panel Discussion

1200 Panel featuring Erin Bray (UCB), Carolyn Shoulders (NPS), Rod Wittler (USBR), Mitch Avalon (CCCFC), John Cain (American Rivers), Scott Nicholson (USACE HQ)

1245 Lunch

Doctoral Research Presentations

1330 Restoration of Sierran meadows: a progress report. Jen Natali
1350 Concrete channels near San Francisco Bay: many problems, few solutions. Raymond Wong
1410 Subsurface flow in gravel bars. Dr. Erin Bray, post-doctoral scholar

Post-Doctoral Research
Policy Forum

1430 Managing stormwater in California, our current crisis and a pathway to sustainability. Presentation byMitch Avalon, consultant Contra Costa County Flood Control District.

1500 Discussion. Moderated by Raymond Wong.

1530 Conclusion and Adjourn


Mitch Avalon, Contra Costa County
Mitch Avalon is currently a consultant with the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and working on a statewide stormwater funding initiative with the County Engineers Association of California.  Mitch worked for many years as the Deputy Chief Engineer for the Contra Costa County Flood Control District.

Erin Bray, UC Berkeley
Dr. Erin Bray is a postdoctoral fellow in hydrology and applied fluvial geomorphology at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Santa Barbara. She conducts field and theoretical studies in river systems, subsurface hydrology and fluvial geomorphology, and in their application to river and floodplain restoration.

John Cain, American Rivers
John Cain has worked on both water policy and river and wetland restoration in California for 25 years.  Since he obtained his Master’s degree in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley in 1997 he has worked to integrate water supply, flood management, and river restoration in the Central Valley and Delta on behalf of the  Natural Heritage Institute (1997-2009) and American Rivers (2009 to the present).

Matt Kondolf, UC Berkeley
G. Mathias (Matt) Kondolf is a fluvial geomorphologist and environmental planner, specializing in environmental river management and restoration. As Professor of Environmental Planning at the UC Berkeley, he teaches courses in hydrology, river restoration, and environmental science. His research concerns human-river interactions broadly, with emphasis on management of flood-prone lands, sediment management in reservoirs and regulated river channels, and river restoration.  Current research includes the Mekong, Lower Colorado, Trinity and Klamath Rivers, and Mediterranean-climate rivers in California and the Mediterranean basin.

Jen Natali, UC Berkeley
Jen researches geomorphology, hydrology and ecology of montane meadow streams as part of her dissertation research and Ph.D. pursuits at University of California, Berkeley.  She combines field observation, remote sensing and numerical modeling to understand the interactions of water, sediment, vegetation and land use in mountainous watersheds.

Raymond Wong, UC Berkeley
Raymond is a Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Planning at the University of California Berkeley. His research interest is on management of aging flood control channels built by USACE. Parallel to his academic pursue, Raymond is currently a consulting project manager at the City of Mountain View, advising the City on the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project planning and sea level rise adaptation.

Scott Nicholson, USACE and UC Berkeley
Scott Nicholson supports USACE Headquarters as a policy advisor and analyst with the Civil Works Office of Water Project Review (OWPR) and supports HQUSACE Planning and Engineering Division initiatives. He served as Staff Member (Fellow) for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee supporting the development of the Water Resources Development Act; and has led complex state and federal programs and projects through inter-governmental planning and construction efforts including ones recognized by the President's Council on Environmental Quality and the Army and has contributed to National Science Foundation research teams at the U.C. Berkeley Center for Catastrophic Risk Management.

Rod Wittler, US Bureau of Reclamation
Dr. Rod Wittler is the US Bureau of Reclamation Science Liaison from the MP Region. Rod specializes in River Restoration issues related to hydraulics, fisheries management, and adaptive management.


WPA-era riprap in Redwood Ck in Muir Woods: effects on fish habitat
Diane Edwards, dianaedwards@berkeley.edu
Allison Jacobson, allison.jacobson@berkeley.edu
Suzanne Kelson, skelson@berkeley.edu

Riprap is commonly installed on the banks of stream channels to prevent bank erosion. This technique has site-specific effects on channel morphology, which can alter habitat composition and quality for aquatic organisms. A 1.5 mile stretch of Redwood Creek, located in Muir Woods National Monument, California, was armored with riprap in the 1930s. The stream hosts coho salmon andsteelhead trout, two salmonid species that are federally protected. We mapped habitat features in two sites: a 500 ft length of riprapped channel and a 600 ft length of un-riprapped channel (reference site) in order to quantify the effects of riprap on juvenile salmonid habitat. We mapped stream features (pools, riffles, gravel bars, overhanging vegetation, large woody debris) and digitized features in ArcGIS. Overall, the reference site displayed more habitat complexity. We found that the riprap site was characterized by proportionally less pools and more riffles: 409 sq. ft of pool and 265 sq. ft of riffle per 100 ft of surveyed length in the riprap site vs. 723 sq. ft of  pools and 60 sq. ft of riffle per 100 ft in the reference site. In addition, the riprap site lacked pools greater than 3 feet deep, which were found in the reference site. Finally, the reference site hosted more large woody debris and overhanging vegetation. These results suggest that the riprap is constraining the formation of deep pools, altering the riffle-pool sequence, and preventing large woody debris and overhanging vegetation from entering the stream channel. We conclude that the riprap is preventing the formation of habitat heterogeneity for native salmonids in Redwood Creek.

Restoration of a reach with failing WPA-era rockwork on Sausal Creek in Dimond Park, Oakland: 13-year post-project appraisal
Felix Ratcliff, felixratcliff@berkeley.edu
Adrienne Marshall, adrienne.marshall@berkeley.edu

Sausal Creek was restored in 2001 in order to improve habitat, water quality, geomorphic processes, and recreational opportunities. As is often the case, post-project geomorphic monitoring has been limited. We resurveyed 10 cross-sections and a longitudinal profile to assess the stability of the channel. We found that the channel has primarily remained stable in the 13 years following the restoration, with minor sediment deposition, primarily in cross-sections without weirs. These results suggest that the geomorphologic objectives of the 2001 restoration project, which reshaped channel cross-sectional geometry and sought bank stability, have been largely successful. Other objectives of the restoration project included re-vegetation with native plant species and continued recreational use by Oakland residents. While not quantitatively measured by this study, our observations suggest that recreation and native plantings are both thriving in the restoration area. The success of native perennial plantings on creek banks may be largely responsible for the observed bank stability.

Peralta Creek, Oakland, 10 years on: post-project appraisal of an urban stream restoration
Andy Chamberlain, ajchamberlain@berkeley.edu
Jenna Lohmann, jlohma01@berkeley.edu

Peralta Creek is an urban creek in East Oakland, California, that drains a 1.9 square kilometer watershed. The creek was restored in 2003 by the Urban Creeks Council, whose primary objective was to rebuild a bypass flow structure to divert flood flows while keeping normal flows within the natural channel. Additional objectives included minimized sediment deposition and erosion, enhanced riparian vegetation, and improved overall aesthetics. We have found that the restoration is still largely a success: there is minimal erosion and incision in the channel, which is capable of containing flood flows, and ninety percent survival of trees planted during the restoration. The largest remaining issue at Peralta Creek is the aesthetics. Like many urban creeks, litter, odor, and graffiti are pervasive. We suggest that small efforts be made to improve community interaction with the creek and maintain its appearance, along with some minor additions to improve sediment transport and channel stabilization.
Assessing success of the Lake Merritt Channel Enhancement Project, Oakland
Shantel Wilkerson, slwilker@berkeley.edu
Sophie Taddeo, sophie.taddeo@berkeley.edu

The city of Oakland has recently initiated the restoration of the channel linking Lake Merritt to the Oakland Estuary. This effort stems from a need to improve water quality, enhance public accessibility, and rehabilitate lost tidal wetlands.  As the project is halfway through completion, there is now an opportunity to develop a comprehensive monitoring framework to help evaluate progress made towards the fulfillment of restoration goals. However, monitoring urban ecosystems can be particularly challenging, as there are multiple stressors are and access to resources is limited. Our objective was to develop a robust but easily implementable monitoring plan for the Lake Merritt Channel Enhancement project. We reviewed methods utilized for similar restoration projects implemented in California, and validated their accuracy through a review of scientific literature. We identified a series of nine metrics of restoration success and tested their applicability on the portion of the channel that has already been restored. Our results evidenced littering and intense human presence as serious threats to the successful recovery of the Lake Merritt Channel. The monitoring framework we designed could help mitigate environmental stressors and assess the ecosystem’s recovery.

Assessing geomorphic evolution of the Sunset Reach of the Upper Truckee River, South Lake Tahoe: is the river restoring itself?
Michelle Hummel, mhummel@berkeley.edu
Serin Park, sr_park@berkeley.edu
Valerie Deeter, vldeeter@berkeley.edu

We performed a geomorphic survey of the Sunset Reach of the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe, California, to analyze the evolution of the channel over the past nine years. We compared seven of the 17 cross-sections that we surveyed with the results of a survey performed by ENTRIX, Inc. in 2005. Based on our comparison, the channel has remained relatively stable. Although several cross-sections show signs of potential widening and aggradation, these changes cannot be directly attributed to geomorphic evolution because of the uncertainty in locating the unmarked cross-sections from 2005 and the resulting imprecision in resurveying the channel. To facilitate future comparisons of channel morphology over time, we recommend improvements in the documentation of survey locations. We also encourage more extensive pre-project monitoring to better understand the trajectory of a river before beginning a costly restoration project that could have negative short-term impacts on aquatic or riparian species.

Boyle Park Creek Restoration: Post Project Assessment
Megan Maurino, bearfan@berkeley.edu
Isabel Schroeter, isabelshroeter@berkeley.edu

Post project monitoring of river restoration projects is an essential component of quantitatively determining success and failures of project goals and objectives related to restoring rivers processes, functions, and forms.  Through a vegetation assessment of the Boyle Park Creek Restoration in Mill Valley, California, twelve transects at set intervals were used throughout the ephemeral 300 ft channel to determine the success of the project’s intended vegetation goals. With our transect data we determined that there is a higher proportion of non-native species to native species. This vegetation data will be supported by cross section analysis to be completed in the near future. With the cross section and vegetation analysis, our post project assessment will answer the question: Did the project meet its intended goals in regards to vegetation and channel morphology? In our preliminary analysis, the vegetation goal to restore native species was not met. Interviews with community members who live adjacent to the creek revealed that there is concern about the invasive Rubus armeniacus and about the overall success of the restoration project. We intend to summarize our preliminary results pertaining to vegetation and our qualitative findings, while also making the suggestion that more uniformity in monitoring is necessary for the future success of restoration projects.



Weekend fee-based public parking is available on campus with nearby lots at:

See the online parking guide for more info. Street parking near campus is often metered with two-hour parking limits, so read signs carefully and beware.


Please direct questions about the symposium to jennifer.natali@berkeley.edu.