Free Streams Seminar in Sacramento

The Water Board Academy is hosting a speaker series that includes five stream experts who will present current research about stream concerns and stream improvement possibilities in California. Given the diversity of the topography, geology, geography, land use, climatic conditions and manmade alterations within the state of California; it is not possible to define one method for ensuring the stability of wadeable streams within the state. When healthy, these smaller streams provide critical habitat for fish and aquatic macroinvertebrates, and offer effective pollutant assimilation benefits.

The seminar will explore the relationships among stream hydrology, hydrogeomorphology, and riparian and aquatic ecology, in the context of stream corridor stability and stream restoration efforts. The Academy Speaker Series is open to the public at no cost and will be webcast for anyone who cannot attend in person.

Where: Byron Sher Auditorium, Cal/EPA Bldg., 1001 I Street, Sacramento
When: Monday, July 23rd, 9am to 4pm
9:00 a.m.
Welcome and introductory remarks
Greg Gearheart, P.E., SWRCB
9:15 a.m.
The Science and Practice of River Restoration
Desiree Tullos, Ph.D.,Oregon State University

Tullos will present definitions, history and current trends of river restoration in the U.S.; focus on issues specific to western states, including dam removal, channel reconfiguration, and environmental flows; discuss performance evaluation of restoration projects; and evaluate river restoration in an inconclusive hydrologic and regulatory framework.
10:05 a.m.
Stream Ecology-From the Eye of the Fish and California Stream Ecology
Lisa Thompson, Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Thompson will present current research of cold-water fish in wadeable streams in several watersheds in northern and central California and relate fish distribution and habitat use to factors such as temperature, flow regime, water year, large wood (debris), pools, cover, and substrate. These factors influence the abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates as important food sources for stream fish. Restoration of anadromous fish populations and stream habitat should be considered at the watershed scale, incorporating fish passage, seasonal shifts in habitat use due to migration and temperature changes, and inter-annual shifts related to water year.
10:55 a.m.
The Importance of Floodplains to Riverine Ecosystems and Flood Management
Chris Bowles, Ph.D., PWA, Ltd., Sacramento

Highlighting the relationship between ecology and stream functionality, Bowles’ presentation will provide an overview of the importance of floodplains for ecosystem and flood management from a physical process perspective. Traditional, single focus approaches to floodplain management must be developed into holistic, multi-objective approaches in order to maximize the potential, not only for our ecosystems, but for more sustainable flood management and planning.
11:45 a.m.
1:00 p.m.
Stability: Trees vs. Grass on Stream Banks-Some Geomorphological and Other Considerations
Stanley W. Trimble, Ph.D., UCLA

A contentious element of riparian management is whether trees or grass promote greater stream stability. This review looks at pre-existing conditions and examines stream morphology, bank and floodplain scour, hydroclimatology, stream flood regime, and the inherent strength of banks. Trimble will also help to distinguish between features whose potential for stream bank protection have been demonstrated and those that require more research.
1:50 p.m.
Invasive Plant Species and Revegetation Along Rivers, Streams and Levees in California
Gretchen Coffman, Ph.D., Marine Science Institute, University of California

This presentation will review the problem of plant invasion in streams and riparian ecosystems. Strategies for control and specific removal methods for the most invasive riparian plants in California, the cost and timing of invasive plant removal, riparian re-vegetation, stream restoration and levee stabilization will be discussed. Coffman will discuss monitoring, performance criteria and adaptive management.
2:40 p.m.
Implications for State and Regional Water Boards
Greg Gearheart, P.E., SWRCB

Gearheart will share his observations on how our core regulatory systems behave in relation to the Water Boards’ mission.
3:10 p.m.
Panel Discussion with Questions and Answers
Moderated panel discussion by all the speakers on the topic: California Stream Protection for the 21st Century-Where do we go from here.