Courses Offered By the Riverlab Team

Our university classes and shortcourses on river restoration and management emphasize understanding of physical and ecological process and river history as a basis for restoration strategy, the need to learn from each restoration project, and the need for scientific rigor when approaching restoration.  The Environmental Planning Studio prepares masters students in Environmental Planning to tackle complex problems in an interdisciplinary setting, using advanced tools from geographic information science, remote sensing, environmental science field work, and policy analysis.  The introductory undergrad course Environmental Science for Sustainable Development emphasizes hands-on learning in the field, using the Berkeley campus and Strawberry Ck as an outdoor laboratory.


New for 2020:
Rivers and Cities: Reclaiming the Connection
LandscapeArch 254-002, Spring term Mondays 12n-2pm

A research seminar exploring the relations of cities and rivers over time from a range of disciplinary perspectives (environmental planning, geography, landscape architecture, ecology, archaeology, and hydrology), with particular focus on recent projects to revitalize urban riverbanks for social benefits and restore ecological processes in urban rivers. 

Restoration of Rivers and Streams
LandscapeArch 227, Fall term Tuesdays 5-8pm

Offered annually since 1992, this is the longest-running course devoted to river restoration at a major research university. This graduate-level course emphasizes understanding of underlying goals and assumptions of restoration, and integration of science into restoration planning and design. Students review restoration plans and evaluate completed projects. In addition to lectures and discussions by the instructor, students, and an extraordinary set of guest lecturers drawn from the active restoration community, the principal course requirement is an independent term project involving original research and a presentation at the Annual Berkely River Restoration Symposium.

Environmental Planning Studio
LandscapeArch 205, Spring term Mon & Wednesdays 2-6pm

This planning studio applies environmental planning principles to complex problems involving a variety of environmental criteria in complex institutional and political settings. Student teams identify needed data, assess environmental developmental problems, conduct analyses, weigh competing uses, develop creative solutions, and prepare environmental management plans.  Normally the class tackles three projects over the course of a semester. 

Environmental Science for Sustainable Development
LandscapeArch12, Fall term Tues & Thursdays 1230-2pm (lecture) + 2-h section

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of environmental science as a basis for sustainable development, planning, and design. The course combines lectures providing a broad overview of the discipline with lab/discussion sections to give students hands-on field experience in stream ecology, air pollution, energy use, biogeochemical cycling, and strategies for sustainable design. The course is designed to maximize interactive, hands-on learning, by taking advantage of the Berkeley campus and region as an outdoor laboratory.


Geomorphic and Ecological Fundamentals for River and Stream Restoration
Offered each August at Sagehen Creek Field Station, Truckee
Next offering: August 14-18, 2023

This five-day introductory course emphasizes understanding geomorphic and ecological process as a sound basis for planning and designing river restoration, covering general principles and case studies from a wide range of environments, and includes field measurements, mapping, interpretation, field trips to the Truckee River and streams in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and workshops on stream restoration problems faced by participants. Now in its 26th successful year, 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 lab, and Sagehen Creek itself, with a rich history of research in fluvial geomorphology and ecology.  Instructors are drawn from multiple disciplines and from both research and practice.

River Restoration: Fluvial-Geomorphic and Ecological Tools

Offered intermittently since 2008, now offered annually as part of H2O’Lyon (the new graduate school of water at the University of Lyon)
Next offering: 7 – 11 June 2021, Beaumont du Ventoux, Provence FR 

This shortcourse/workshop emphasizes understanding geomorphic process as a sound basis for planning and designing river restoration projects and programs, with specific applications and field visits to Mediterranean and mountain environments.  The course draws heavily on innovative process-based river restoration and management experiences in France and elsewhere in the EU, complemented by experiences in North America.  Instruction includes lectures, field exercises, problem sets and workshops on approaches to planning and implementing process-based restoration, with instructors drawn from both sides of the Atlantic.