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Abstract: Session B  9:45 am (Back to Session B)
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Stream Restoration Best Management Practices, aka, Stream Restoration Design Philosophies

Christine Blackwelder
Wildlands Engineering, Inc.
Charlotte, NC

The stream restoration industry has evolved over the years due to increasingly specific project goals, expanded regulatory requirements and guidance, and the additional experience our practitioners have gained over time. This advancement of restoration practices has also occurred in large part due to a lack of standardized engineering best management practices for the industry, which has allowed flexibility in design and new ideas to flourish. Creativity and innovation have become as important to stream restoration design as calculations and standards. While the lack of standardization has helped propel the industry forward, we have reached a point where a catalog of ideas and successful practices should be developed to assist new practitioners and share information across organizations.

Engineering best management practices are traditionally rigid and are often based on centuries of trial and error. Many of the practices are associated with engineering standards which cannot be deviated from. Stream restoration best management practices should be developed but they should be more qualitative than other engineering disciplines’ standards. While there is more flexibility, subjectivity, and creativity when designing natural systems, there are still distinct philosophies that should be considered during the design process and perhaps we should address ‘best management practices’ instead as ‘design philosophies.’ Several stream restoration design philosophies will be discussed including:

·        Understanding the watershed conditions, site conditions, and site constraints;

·        Developing design discharges using multiple methods;

·        Utilizing appropriate multiple reference reaches to understand design form;

·        Mimicking natural and thinking outside the box;

·        Thinking about stability and habitat; and

·        Value engineering and prioritizing the use of onsite materials.