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Streams & Rivers Restoration

The concept of stream restoration refers to returning degraded ecosystems to a stable, healthy condition. Those who take on this task must consider the factors that impact the rivers and streams and recognize that completing restoration projects involves a number of sequential steps.

Getting from concept to completion of a restoration project can be daunting. Understanding the sequential steps of planning, designing, funding, constructing, and monitoring restoration projects is critical to venturing into the process and achieving restoration success.

River restoration requires expertise in a number of disciplines and specialized skills. The leader, or project manager, is responsible for organizing and bringing together various project partners, agency technical staff, non-governmental, and other parties interested in or concerned with a potential project. Such partnerships can create effective avenues for addressing multi-faceted river restoration projects with a multitude of issues.

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Restoration Planning and Implementation

  • Assessment, Planning and Permitting

  • Design and Cost Estimating

  • Construction


River and Stream Restoration Techniques

River and stream restoration involves the modification of a disturbed condition to re-establish physical channel and bank features of riparian plant communities bordering a particular river or stream reach. Numerous in-water and bank restoration techniques may be used, although NOAA Fisheries focuses on highest priority river restoration projects that are cost-effective, allow for unimpeded fish passage, and restore riverine ecological services.

Although a number of in-water and bank restoration techniques may be employed, the primary practices are described here:

  • Channel Restoration

  • Channel Structural Complexity

  • Bank Stabilization

  • Riparian and Wetland Planting and Seeding

  • Dam Removals

  • Fishways

  • Culvert Removal or Replacement