Author: riverlab

GEOMORPHIC & ECOLOGICAL FUNDAMENTALS FOR RIVER & STREAM RESTORATION CANCELLED FOR 2020 DUE TO COVID-19, BUT ON FOR 16-20 AUG 2021

With great regret, we cancel the 2020 shortcourse at Sagehen Creek Field Station, due to the many complications arising from the CVID-19 pandemic and the challenges in avoiding problems in holding the shortcourse at the station.  Those already registered are entitled to a full refund or may defer their participation to next year’s course offering, 16-20 August 2021.   We apologize for this very disappointing news, but look forward to better conditions under which we can once again hold the course next year.  We thank you for your understanding.

 

Matt Kondolf and the Sagehen Teaching Team

Geomorphic and Ecological Fundamentals for River and Stream Restoration

EPA Watershed Management Postgraduate Research Opportunity
DEADLINE: May 29, 2020
Office of Water | Washington, DC | Full-time | MONTHLY STIPEND PROVIDED

This opportunity will provide excellent exposure to the interface of watershed technical issues and environmental policy. It also offers exposure to the interaction between State and EPA CWA program practitioners in implementing their respective responsibilities under the CWA 303(d) program. Under the guidance of a mentor, the research participant will be involved in the activities above and will learn: (1)The respective roles of EPA, states and tribes in achieving the goals of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to achieve and maintain water quality; (2) Programmatic approaches and policy and technical tools to identify and develop restoration and protection plans for impaired or high quality waters, including those related to address nutrient impairments; (3) How states and EPA can continue to push the CWA 303(d) listing and TMDL program to better achieve environmental results in ways tailored to specific state priorities; (4) How to leverage different media to convey water quality information to a variety of audiences.

>>Job description

HYDROLOGIC IMPACTS OF UPSTREAM DAMS ON THE MEKONG DELTA

You may be interested in a new analysis of the effects of recently completed Xayaboury Dam (on the Mekong mainstem near Luang Prabang) and a cascade of dams upstream in China on flow patterns in the Lower Mekong River. The paper, Mekong River, Xayaboury Dam, and Mekong Delta in the first half dry season 2019-2020 by Nguyen Ngoc Tran was published in Vietnamese in TIA SANG, a scientific journal published by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The English version is now available here. As illustrated in excerpts of Figures 5 and 6 from the paper, the hydrologic analysis shows that flows this dry season have been significantly lower than in prior years’ dry seasons.

Riverlab members have contributed scientific papers on the cumulative effects of upstream dams on the sediment budget of the Mekong Delta and other threats to the sustainability of the Delta (Kondolf et al 2014, Kondolf et al 2018) and the potential for strategic dam planning to minimize impacts of dams on downstream sediment budgets and fish migration (Schmitt et al 2019).


Water levels in the Mekong River at Nakhon Phanom reflecting severe drought conditions in the current dry season of the 2019-2020 water year. (Source: Nguyen Ngoc Tran. 2020, Mekong River, Xayaboury Dam, and Mekong Delta in the first half dry season 2019-2020, Figure 5.)


View of the exposed bed of the Mekong River at Nakhon Phanom in late October 2019, reflecting severe drought conditions in this year’s dry season. (Source: Nguyen Ngoc Tran. 2020, Mekong River, Xayaboury Dam, and Mekong Delta in the first half dry season 2019-2020, Figure 6.)

References Cited

Kondolf, G.M., Z.K. Rubin, J.T. Minear. 2014. Dams on the Mekong: Cumulative sediment starvation.  Water Resources Research 50, doi:10.1002/2013WR014651. >>link to paper

Kondolf, GM, RJP Schmitt, P Carling, S Darby, M Arias, S Bizzi, A Castelletti, T Cochrane, S Gibson, M Kummu, C Oeurng, Z Rubin, and T Wild. 2018. Changing sediment budget of the Mekong: Cumulative threats and management strategies for a large river basin. Science of the Total Environment 625: 114-134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.361 >>link to paper

Schmitt, R, S Bizzi, AF Castelletti, J Opperman, GM Kondolf. 2019. Planning dam portfolios for low sediment trapping shows limits on sustainable hydropower in the Mekong. Science Advances 5: eaaw2175 >>link to paper

CAMBODIA ADOPTS MORATORIUM ON DAMS ON THE MEKONG

The government of Cambodia announced on 16 March that it would postpone development of any of new dams on the mainstem Mekong River for 10 years, citing the need to develop alternative sources of energy for the country’s future development. While Cambodia has built a large dam on the SeSan-SrePok (important downstream tributaries), and left open the possibility it might build other tributary dams, the mainstem dams long-planned for Sambor and Stung Trang are on hold for the next decade. See story in the Guardian here.

Environmental Scientist: Regulatory Compliance Specialist – Pacific Watershed Associates

Pacific Watershed Associates is seeking applicants for the position of Environmental Scientist: Regulatory Compliance Specialist based in their office in McKinleyville, Humboldt County, California. Pacific Watershed Associates Inc., established in 1989, is a full service geological, hydrological, engineering, and biological consulting firm specializing in the development of technically sound management, restoration, and environmental solutions for watershed, forest, riverine, and coastal habitats. PWA is based in McKinleyville, California with an office in Petaluma (northern San Francisco Bay Area).

The application deadline is March 17. Click on the link bellow to view the job posting.

https://www.pacificwatershed.com/news-events/job-opening-environmental-scientist-regulatory-compliance-specialist

River Restoration: Fluvial-Geomorphic and Ecological Tools

22-26 June 2020, Beaumont du Ventoux, Provence FR

https://institutbeaumont.org

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.

Adaptive Management for an International River Basin: The Future of the Columbia River Treaty

The Columbia River Treaty between the US and Canada has been recognized as an innovative example of the bi-national management of the water resources of an international river. However, when the Treaty was ratified in 1964, it did not adequately consider the rights and responsibilities of tribes and First Nations or local residents, ecological functions such as fish and fish habitat, instream flow needs, river processes and ecology, etc. Additionally, the treaty did not address issues such as water requirements for municipal, industrial and agricultural uses, river transport and recreation, water quality, or potential changes in runoff characteristics and water temperature as a result of climate change. The United States and Canada are currently renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty and incorporating ecosystem function into the agreement, which was originally designed for hydropower generation and flood control, is a central theme. Both parties agree that an adaptive management framework will be critical to achieving these multiple objectives and treaty renegotiations are widely seen as providing an opportunity to modernize the treaty by including consideration of the above issues.

On May 9, 2019 the UC Berkeley Canadian Studies Program, Institute of International Studies, and Riverlab hosted a workshop on incorporating adaptive management (AM) into a modernized Columbia River Treaty. Scientists, policy experts, and representatives of First Nations and Tribes from Canada and the US met at UC Berkeley to present and discuss principles of adaptive management, successful precedents, and consider issues of legal perspectives, climate change, and power management relevant to revising the 55-year old treaty.

Reflecting the conclusions of the workshop was a one-page communiqué sent to US and Canadian negotiators in Washington and Ottawa. A more detailed summary of the workshop recommendations will be posted in the near future.

The program for the workshop is available here, and PDF versions of the presentations from the workshop are available below:

River and reservoir sustainability in a monsoon climate: experience from Taiwan

02 November 1030a-1p, Rm 223 Moses Hall

Presented by Professor Hsiao-Wen Wang (National Cheng Kung University Taiwan), currently a Fulbright scholar at Berkeley working on conflicts between renewable energy and ecological values.  Like California, Taiwan has highly seasonal precipitation with high interannual variability, so reservoir storage is essential to provide water in dry months and dry years.  But the sediment yields in Taiwan are among the highest in the world, resulting in rapid filling of reservoirs, motivating Taiwan to implement sediment management measures sooner than elsewhere (Wang et al. 2018).  What can we learn from Taiwan’s experience?

This seminar is part of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar series, Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation, presented under the auspices of the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies.  As both the developed and developing world confront intensifying demands on rivers and other water resources, impacts are evident from extractions of water for human uses, proliferation of dams, mining sediments from river beds, and intensified land-use impacts, all exacerbated by climate change.  Accelerated erosion of coasts and deltas (e.g., from sediment starvation, groundwater pumping, accelerated sea-level rise) are among the manifestations of these impacts.  Our seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach these challenges by examining how societies have adapted to variability in the past (uncertainty in water supply, flood risk, etc) and considers the tools we have to manage future variability in river flows and sediment loads, including variability in water supplies, increased flood risk, and the existential threat to many coastal areas.

 

References Cited

Wang, H-W, GM Kondolf, D Tullos, and W-C Kuo.  Sediment management in Taiwan’s reservoirs and barriers to implementation.  Water 10(8), 1034; doi:10.3390/w10081034

 

Managing sediment at the river basin scale: sediment-starved rivers and sand rights for the coast

Friday 26 October 1030-1p, Rm 223 Moses Hall.

The seminar will feature contributions from Carrie Monohan (Sierra Fund), Katherine Stone (MWGJF, retired), Mark Capelli (NOAA), and discussant Holly Doremus (Boalt).  Dams and instream aggregate mining interrupt the continuity of sediment in river systems, with consequences including coastal sediment starvation and consequent accelerated erosion and delta subsidence.  The concept of ‘sand rights’ has been proposed as a legal doctrine to protect downstream and coastal interests from interruption of their natural sand supply (Stone 2000).  In northern California, the legacy of sediment accumulation from 19th and early 20th century gold mining continues to present challenges, including problems created by the ‘debris dams’ (such as Englebright Reservoir on the Yuba) constructed to prevent sediment generated by hydraulic mining from moving downstream.

This seminar is part of the interdisciplinary faculty seminar series, Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation, presented under the auspices of the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies.  As both the developed and developing world confront intensifying demands on rivers and other water resources, impacts are evident from extractions of water for human uses, proliferation of dams, mining sediments from river beds, and intensified land-use impacts, all exacerbated by climate change.  Accelerated erosion of coasts and deltas (e.g., from sediment starvation, groundwater pumping, accelerated sea-level rise) are among the manifestations of these impacts.  Our seminar takes an interdisciplinary approach these challenges by examining how societies have adapted to variability in the past (uncertainty in water supply, flood risk, etc) and considers the tools we have to manage future variability in river flows and sediment loads, including variability in water supplies, increased flood risk, and the existential threat to many coastal areas.

 

References Cited

Stone, K. 2000. Sand rights: a legal system to protect the shores of the sea. 29 Stetson Law Review 709, 732 (2000).