Research, Coordination, and Open-Source Models to improve Stream Restoration Practice,

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings, 8th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, Reno, NV

Publication Date



Research Coordination, open-source models, stream restoration practice


Most agree that there is room for improvement in the science and engineering basis for stream restoration. There is also a bewildering array of methods and models, the application of which requires a diverse range of expertise and effort with little clear indication of need, reliability, efficacy, and effort. There is a need for not only research and improved methods supporting stream restoration practice, but also for improved organization, distribution, and coordination of existing and emerging methods and training. The National Center for Earthsurface Dynamics (NCED), a Science and Technology Center funded by the National Science Foundation, has formed a Stream Restoration Group to organize and focus research relevant to stream restoration, to collaborate with agencies and practitioners in identifying knowledge gaps and developing improved tools for restoration practice, and to disseminate this knowledge to practitioners. Our goal is to move restoration practice to an analytical, process-based approach that will ultimately lead to better prediction and hence better design. Predictive understanding is needed in a number of key areas, including sediment routing at the reach to network scale, channel and floodplain response to watershed changes, and linkages between physical channel conditions and nutrient cycling, stream metabolism, primary production, and population dynamics. The broadest challenge facing restoration is placing projects in a watershed context. A central part of the Restoration Group’s efforts involves support and interaction with a partners group consisting of agency and industry professionals. This group helps to define research needs, to identify and contribute useful models for restoration design, to evaluate restoration practice, and to coordinate training in restoration practice.

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