On the Wild Side!
E-Newsletter for the Chesapeake Bay Field Office


Chesapeake Bay Field Office's Natural Channel Design (NCD) Checklist Offers Rapid Assessment of NCD Stream Restoration Projects

Little Catoctin Creek (left) before restoration, and (right) after. USFWS photos.
A photo of Little Catoctin Creek in desparate need of restoration. USFWS photo. Little Cacoctin Creek after restoration. USFWS photo.

There is a high demand for a standardized method to review stream restoration projects. The Chesapeake Bay Field Office, in partnership with EPA-HQ Wetlands Division, developed the Natural Channel Design (NCD) review checklist so that stream practitioners and regulators can review stream restoration designs developed using the natural channel design methodology. The checklist provides guidance on important items to consider when reviewing natural channel designs. It is intended as a rapid method for determining whether a project design contains an appropriate level of information and whether the project should move forward to construction.

The NCD review checklist consists of the following sections: Watershed and Geomorphic Assessment; Preliminary Design; Final Design; and Maintenance and Monitoring Plans. Each section contains a list of certain review questions and the supporting document presents a brief description of each question. The NCD review checklist is also a valuable tool for practitioners in determining the benefits to trust resources and potential success of proposed stream restoration projects. The checklist is currently being updated and will be available by December 2011. The current checklist is available at: http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/streampub.html.

USFWS instructor discusses stream restoration with a participant. USFWS photo.
A photo of stream restoration training in the field. USFWS photo.

In addition, the Chesapeake Bay Field Office has also developed a 3.5-day training course on the NCD review checklist and principles of fluvial geomorphology. The course includes participants from federal, state, and local agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and private companies. The training involves class lectures, classroom exercises, and stream restoration project site visits.

The lectures cover the following topics: overview of fluvial geomorphic principles; hydrology and hydraulics; sediment transport, hydrology and hydraulic models; sediment models; geomorphology (watershed/landscape processes, stream stability, bankfull discharge, physical habitat); and restoration objectives and methods (restoration objectives, watershed restoration/management, NCD, restoration stabilization methods, and monitoring).

The classroom exercises involve class participants reviewing two different proposed NCD stream restoration projects and completing the NCD checklist for each project. Staff reviews and discusses the determinations made by the class participants and provides answer packets.
During stream restoration project site visits participants discuss the success of the projects and how the NCD checklist can be applied.

The training has been taught seven times throughout the U.S. and is is now one of the courses offered at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center.

For more information contact:
Richard Starr


Last updated: October 24, 2011