The course is held at Sagehen Creek Field Station, combining a beautiful natural setting with excellent research facilities, such as an outdoor classroom, stream table to demonstrate channel adjustments, on-site laboratory, and Sagehen Creek, with its rich history of research in fluvial geomorphology and ecology.  Instructors are drawn from multiple disciplines, and from both research and practice.

Our five-day introductory course emphasizes understanding geomorphic and ecological process as a sound basis for planning and designing river restoration. It covers general principles and case studies from a wide range of environments. Incorporating insights from recent research in fluvial geomorphology and ecology, the course emphasizes developing predictive connections between objectives and actions, learning from built restoration projects, and developing restoration strategies and innovative management approaches to address underlying causes of channel or ecosystem change, rather than prescriptive approaches.

Registration: Registration for the 2023 course is now filled! Please see links below to be added to the waitlist for this year’s course. We often have cancellations, so there is a good chance you may still be able to attend this year. You can also reach out to Hannah Hansen at to be added the email list for the 2024 course when those dates are announced. Thank you for your interest in the course and we hope to see you soon!

Instructors | Registration, fees, travel | Text & Materials | Agenda

Read about the Sagehen Field Station near Lake Tahoe, CA

QUESTIONS? Contact Hannah Hansen at

To receive updates on future courses, add your email here.

Watch the following 1-minute video to get a flavor for the course.

The course integrates perspectives from leading academic researchers and consulting practitioners in river restoration. Lectures, exercises, field trips and case studies cover a range of restoration approaches from state-of-the-art hydraulics and sediment transport, to historical analysis and context-specific considerations ranging from urban infrastructure to natural resources. In addition to field data collection techniques, the course uses spreadsheet models to calculate sediment transport and channel design, map and aerial photo analysis, and sequential problem solving in approaching restoration of fluvial processes. The course includes field trips to the Truckee River and streams in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and workshops on restoration problems faced by participants for discussion where we develop ideas on analytical approaches and recommend resources.

This course emphasizes integration of hydrology, hydraulics, sediment transport, geomorphology, aquatic ecology, fisheries, and riparian ecology, and includes field measurements, mapping, and interpretation.

This course is brought to you by RiverLab at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design.

For a more specialized course intended for those who wish to understand and apply the principles of sediment transport to alluvial channel assessment and design, we recommend the short course on Sediment Transport in Stream Assessment and Design taught at Utah State University, Logan. Principles of open channel flow and sediment transport are combined with watershed-scale, hydrologic and sediment source analysis to place channel assessment and design in the appropriate context. This course builds upon the principles of river geomorphology taught in the Sagehen course.  Its lead instructor (Peter Wilcock) is co-instructor of the Sagehen course.

COVID-19 considerations: Virtually all activities are already held outdoors, but to minimize the possibility of virus spreading, we may limit the number of people occupying each cabin, and anticipate that about half of the participants camp on the grounds (as per usual given the beautiful environment for camping). Requirements (e.g., masks, social distancing, and vaccination requirements) will be determined by public health guidelines in effect in August 2023.


The Sagehen River Restoration Shortcourse and the College of Environmental Design of UC Berkeley more broadly are committed to attracting talented students with diverse backgrounds, cultures, experiences and perspectives. We strive to cultivate an inclusive environment for our faculty and students that respect and reflect the diverse communities in which we live and work.
The intellectual exchange of ideas, learning to interact effectively with each other, and developing attitudes of responsibility for leadership in society and decision-making, are enhanced through a student community that respects and values the insights gained from various points of view. We welcome all participants to the Sagehen River Restoration Shortcourse and welcome you to join our community!