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Abstract: Session D  1:55 pm (Back to Session D)
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Exploring New Frontiers: Introducing Urban Communities to Stream Restoration and Fluvial Geomorphology

Stephanie Coffman, PG
Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.
Arlington, TX

Authors: Stephanie Coffman, PG (Stantec) and Audra Valamides, PE, CFM (City of Arlington, TX)

Stream restoration, as a practice, has existed for decades.  We, as practitioners, are continuously refining our craft.  We are students of the river, both as a necessity and a desire.  We are knowledgeable about streams, rivers, and the techniques to restore degraded systems, but not all of our clients and communities are as familiar or as comfortable with stream restoration as we are.  This talk will present a case study of urban stream restoration in a city undertaking its first pilot program for stream restoration projects.  The City of Arlington, TX has initiated a stream restoration project on approximately 4,000 feet of a tributary of Kee Branch through a residential neighborhood.  This presentation will discuss the challenges of promoting, designing, and executing a stream restoration project in a region where stream restoration is a relatively new concept.  Urban settings require attention to multiple facets of stream work that might receive less consideration in a rural setting: flooding, tree removal, construction access, and public interaction.  The importance of understanding the client’s, and the public’s expectations cannot be understated. 

Traditional stream stabilization and erosion reduction methods including gabion baskets, rock riprap, and modular pre-cast blocks are well understood and accepted methods.  City staff actively promoting stream restoration can face an uphill battle; convincing city government and the public that unfamiliar methods can be as effective, more economical, and have a wider array of benefits than traditional methods.  This project is a work in process, and the ultimate outcome has yet to unfold. But the lessons learned thus far regarding project team interaction, the process and public outreach are valuable and provide insight that will be extremely beneficial to future stream restoration project planning and execution.