River Restoration Course

About us

Geomorphic and Ecological Fundamentals for River and Stream Restoration

Why take this course?

River restoration has become big business in the US, with well over $17 billion spent on over 40,000 projects since 1990. Despite strong public support and the magnitude of the investment, the field has not advanced as quickly as one might expect, because learning through post-project evaluation is rare, and insights from current research are often not effectively incorporated in planning and design. River restoration can be more effective when it is designed with an understanding of processes and the larger context, when it benefits from systematic learning from previous built projects, and when it is based on predictive connections between objectives and actions. Formerly taught by UC Berkeley Professor Matt Kondolf, this short course emphasizes sustainable river restoration through:

  • understanding geomorphic and ecological processes in rivers
  • watershed-scale and longer-time scale context
  • incorporating insights from recent research in fluvial geomorphology and ecology
  • developing predictive connections between objectives and actions
  • analyses of effectiveness of built restoration projects
  • strategies to restore (where possible) physical and ecological processes in rivers
  • setting goals in the context of a continuum from urban-to-wilderness settings
  • developing restoration strategies and innovative management approaches based on understanding of underlying causes of channel or ecosystem change, rather than prescriptive approaches
  • knowing when to intervene and when the river can heal itself without meddling

Watch this short video on the Sagehen River Restoration Shortcourse held in 2018: