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Restoring Rivers – Natural Channel Design

Submitted by March 28, 2015 1:20 am

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March 24-27, 2015, Prescott Creeks and Natural Channel Design hosted 30 restoration practitioners from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah in Prescott for a river restoration workshop.

Using principles first pioneered by Luna Leopold, and further developed by David Rosgen, and then Tom Moody, the 3 1/2 day workshop introduced participants to the fundamentals of fluvial and geomorphic processes in the arid Southwest. Since Natural Channel Design was the engineering partner for the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve Resotration Project (2009-2013), the Preserve was an excellent setting for the exploration channel and floodplain morphology, principles of hydrology, field identification of bankfull stage, basic field survey techniques, natural channel classification, stability assessments, and bioengineering. Not only is there plenty research and work to draw from, there is still work that needs to occur.

In addition to spending a full day at the Preserve, the group made a visit to the ongoing Butte Creek Restoration Project being conducted by Prescott College. We also visited two projects conducted a decade ago on Lynx Creek by the Prescott National Forest.

While, I am still processing all of the learing that took place over the last four days, I’ve gained insights into directions we could go to further understand topics as diverse as (but interrelated with) future restoration efforts at the Preserve, surface water quality improvements throughout the watershed, and meaningful opportunities for community members to make a difference. We’ll keep you posted as the details come together.

Thanks go out to all the participants for making it an informative and lively week. I’d also like to express thanks to Yavapai Title Agency for providing the group with their excellent classroom, and to Nick’s Feed Your Face and Bill’s Pizzeria for helping to keep the crew fed.

IMG_5311 (Small)-525x394Members of the group debating the location of bankful stage.

IMG_5315 (Small)-525x394Collecting a bar sample to understand Granite Creek function.

IMG_5320 (Small)-525x394Crunching data on the front porch of the Creeks office.

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