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Streams provide a number of ecosystem services including flood control, sediment retention, wildlife habitat, and human recreation. Streams and their adjacent wetlands provide water quality benefits by filtering pollutants, regulating water temperature, and contributing to safe drinking water supplies. Streams lose these functions and services when they are modified or degraded, mainly by channel relocations, bank modifications, and excess pollution and erosion.
Stream restoration is accomplished by identifying the problem, researching historic documentation, analyzing existing on-site and surrounding area features, and designing the stream to a natural condition to the maximum extent possible. The stream design can be determined by studying adjacent and healthy “reference streams,” and/or by analyzing any existing stable segments of the degraded system and incorporating those features into a “natural channel design.” During and following the construction of the stream, it is also important to monitor the stability of the channel and also to employ adaptive management practices to accommodate changes over time.
NRP has the experience and technical capacity to restore a degraded stream to a natural state by identifying the problem, assessing baseline conditions, and determining an appropriate stream design. We also provide services related to construction management, post construction monitoring, and implementing adaptive management practices when needed to ensure that the functions and values of the stream are restored and maintained over time.
Side-by-side simulations of the Existing Conditions (left) where the creek diverted to the west and the Restoration (right) where flow is restored to historic paths to the south.