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Stream, Wetland, and Riparian Restoration


The Water Resources Division provides assistance in the areas of stream, wetland and riparian area restoration for the enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat.

Riparian area restoration typically involves exclusion of cattle and other animals from the area to give plant communities a chance to recover.   Sometimes the stream or river has incised to the point where the water level in the adjacent alluvium is below the roots of native vegetation, and a more active restoration effort is needed.   Additional efforts may also be required where extensive bank erosion has occurred, reducing opportunities for riparian plant establishment.

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Home Page gives a lengthy discussion on the hierarchy of stream restoration needs, and posts the Mountain-Prairie Region Policy regarding stream restoration and bank stabilization.

Currently, four hydrologists in the Water Resources Division have participated in the Rosgen series of stream restoration classes.  Three have participated in three of the courses, and the Regional Private Lands Hydrologist has participated in all four.  These staff members are available to assist in stream assessment, monitoring, and restoration design.

The same staff can provide support in the acquisition and analysis of stream gage data essential to restoration planning.   This may include detailed analyses of flow peaks, durations and frequencies.   Such information is critical in designing structures and in developing general stream restoration strategies.

To support such analyses, the Division has a variety of software programs for developing inflow hydrographs, performing step-backwater evaluations, and undertaking flow-duration analyses -- all potentially invaluable for restoration project design.  Our staff are familiar with the NRCS programs (TR-55 and TR-20) for small-watershed hydrograph development, and can assist in the development of associated parameters such as runoff curve numbers and rainfall distributions.   We also have the NRCS programs used to model different types of water control structures, and we can assist in understanding what hydraulic coefficients should be used in those models.   For larger watersheds, additional modeling tools (such as HEC-RMS) are available to incorporate more robust modeling techniques.