Our Riverlab events have been cancelled for Spring 2020 due to COVID-19.
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.)
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
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.
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.
22-26 June 2020, 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.
Matthew Sasaki, Mingyao Wang, Thea Yang
Jonathan McCall, Eric Garcia, Jill Dressler
Berenice Gonzalez, Daria Kieffer, Christopher Kingsley, Beatriz Stambuk-Torres, Erina Szeto
Charlie Yue, Elizabeth Hurley, Elyssa Lawrence, Zhiyao Shu
Yuling Chen, Arturo Fuentes-Ortiz, Celina Gu, Chenny Wang
Chandra Vogt, Eiji Jimbo, Jason Lin, Daniela Corvillon
Brian Kastl, Lukas Winklerprins, Kyle Leathers, Zack Dinh, and Shelby Witherby
Danielle Charleston, Melissa Hassler, Kelsey Wilson
Evaluating the effectiveness of restored side channel habitat, Lagunitas Creek
Chris Williams, Stephanie Clarke, Rachael Ryan, Jessie Moravek
Carbon emissions of a conventional restoration project vs a river’s restorative power
Timur Maraghe, Angadpreet Brar, Natan Johnson Lennon
Urban river restoration on the Truckee: social vs ecological
Spencer Lacy, Faisal Ashraf, Gurjot Kohli, Yitao Li, James Hansen
Baxter Creek Gateway Park Restoration: a post-project appraisal
Yiwen Chen, Yuanshuo Pi
Cerrito Creek within Blake Garden: Opportunities for restoration
Moyan Chen, Nery Barrera Lopez, Tanner Howe, Sara Mahmoud, Tim Cole
While the US was arguably more active in river restoration in the 1980s, most of the projects now undertaken in the US are still form-based attempts to create idealized features. In many cases, these artificial constructions are not sustained by current, altered river processes. In the EU, by contrast, many projects explicitly aim to restore process, even when this means allowing a ‘messy’ river to develop.
How can we restore true geomorphic and ecological processes in rivers? This question was addressed in the 15th Annual Berkeley River Restoration Symposium (7 December 2019), in keynote talks by Hervé Piégay of CNRS (the French national research agency) and University of Lyon, and Damion Ciotti of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Piégay’s talk, ‘Revitalizing rivers: learning from a few European case studies,’ summarized some of the key lessons learned from recent restoration efforts in the EU. Despite more projects in the US now claiming to be ‘process based’, real restoration of process is rare. How can we distinguish true process-based restoration projects? Damion Ciotti’s talk, ‘Process-based design criteria for ecological restoration’ presented four distinct attributes of true process-based restoration, along with a detailed illustration of the application of these criteria to a restoration project in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
In addition to these keynote talks, graduate students in the River Restoration course presented their independent research projects, including a comparison of a conventional salmon spawning habitat restoration project heavily dependent on external energy sources (diesel fuel) with the energy exerted on the ‘restored’ reach by a natural flood; an evaluation of a side-channel restoration for salmon on Lagunitas Creek; the Vermont and Washington State programs to set aside river corridors; and post-project appraisals of river restoration projects on the Truckee River, Reno, and Cerrito and Baxter Creeks in the San Francisco Bay region. Panels of experienced practitioners and researchers provided perspective on themes arising in the presentations. Click here to see the papers summarizing the graduate student research projects.
The symposium is presented annually by the UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, and the Institute of International Studies Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar Water Management: Past and Future Adaptation.
Keynote Speaker Bios
Hervé Piégay is research director at the National Center of Scientific Research, at the laboratory Environnement, Ville, Societe, based at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Lyon (France). His Ph.D. (1995) documented interactions between riparian vegetation and channel geomorphology. His research is focused on river management, planning and restoration, contemporary history of rivers and their catchments, analyzing human controls on environmental change, floodplain and former channel sedimentation, sediment transport, and budgeting. His work involves integrated sciences, with a strong emphasis on methodological frameworks and innovative tools using tracking techniques, GIS and remote sensing. He frequently works with practitioners to provide insights for river management, planning, and restoration.
Damion Ciotti is a Restoration Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Auburn California. He has over 10 years of experience in design and implementation of stream, river, and wetland restoration in the Sierra, Cascades, Great Basin and Appalachia. Major projects include restoration of stream delta systems in the upper Klamath Basin and stream and floodplain reconnections in the Sierra and Cascades. He is interested in testing applications of ecological science and theory to restoration practice. He also coordinates the Tribal Grants Program for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Damion has an MS in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a BS in Soil Science from Penn State and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay.
About the Class
Restoration of Rivers and Streams (Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning 227) is taught by Professor Matt Kondolf. Offered annually since 1992, it 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 this Symposium.
Building on recent research on the Rhine River between France and Germany, a research team based in Strasbourg has published a review of scientific literature on projects to restore channel complexity downstream of dams. While dam removal has attracted enormous attention in recent years, with notable successes on the Elwha River, the reality is that most dams are here to stay and most river reaches in the developed world are downstream of dams. As these dams capture sediment, they create conditions of sediment deficit in many river reaches downstream. This review found relatively few studies documenting projects to restore sediment supply via gravel augmentation and fewer still via restoration of channel erosion processes below dams (mostly examples from northern Europe). Biological monitoring shows benefits from these projects, whose increasing popularity reflects growing interest in restoration of fluvial process, and an evolving perspective towards adaptive or coupling management approaches to promote the recovery of natural processes in rivers below many dams and thus to improve ecological response.
The paper, Restoring fluvial forms and processes by gravel augmentation or bank erosion below dams: A systematic review of ecological responses, by Cybil Staentzel et al. is available for free download here until 01 February 2020.
The Mattole Restoration Council is a 36 year-old watershed restoration non-profit on the Lost Coast of Northern California, with a million dollar plus annual budget and a regular staff of nine. We are a membership organization with an elected board of directors that undertakes landscape-scale watershed restoration and rehabilitation in the Mattole watershed and adjacent areas, and promotes a stewardship land ethic. For more information about our programs, please visit www.mattole.org.
- Works with the board of directors to execute the mission and long-term strategic goals;
- Oversees and manages 9 regular staff and 60 seasonal employees;
- Leads fundraising efforts and works with the program staff to develop projects and submit grant proposals to various federal and state agencies and foundations;
- Directs the implementation of organizational policies and the strategic plan;
- Acts as liaison to the community, partner groups, agencies, and other stakeholders;
- Oversees fiscal management.
- Excellent communication skills;
- Experience with fundraising and developing federal and state grant proposals;
- Experience with managing federal and state contracts;
- Ability to establish dynamic relationships with a broad base of stakeholders;
- Experience with non-profit fiscal and personnel management;
- Commitment to community based watershed restoration;
- A background in environmental science/biology/ecology;
- Familiarity with watershed restoration strategies and methods;
- Strong sense of self-direction and self-organization;
The position is full to half time (negotiable), and reports to the board of directors. Compensation is commensurate with experience, and includes health, vacation, training and retirement benefits. The position is based in the Petrolia office, with travel throughout the watershed and Northern California. A valid driver’s license and functioning personal vehicle are required.
To Apply: Email cover letter, resume/CV and three references to John Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call John at 707 629 3265.
This position is open until filled; interviews begin on January 13, 2020.