The course will be offered twice this year: the week of 16-20 Aug, and the week of 30 Aug-03 Sept 2021 at Sagehen Creek Field Station, near Truckee, California USA.  After having to skip the course last year due to COVID restrictions, we delighted to be able to offer the course this year (its 26th 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 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.

COVID-19 considerations:  Based on improving infection and vaccination trends, we have the green light to offer the course this year, in person.  Public health guidelines and research station rules will include wearing face masks, maintaining social distance, limiting how many people stay in cabins overnight or use the bathrooms at the same time, and require vaccination prior to attending the course.  Virtually all activities are already held outdoors anyway, but to minimize the possibility of virus spreading, we will limit the number of people occupying each cabin, and ask others to pitch tents on the station grounds (about half of the participants each year pitch tents anyway, as it is a very nice environment for camping).


Registration: Registration is now open with a few spots available for both weeks:

Session 1: Aug 16-20
Session 2: Aug 30- Sep 3

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

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.

Read about the Sagehen Field Station near Lake Tahoe, CA

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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 Sediment Transport in Stream Assessment and Design, taught 02-06 August 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.


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!