1. Background & Purpose

Chapter 1: Background & Purpose

The first chapter lays out the purpose and organization of the manual. It also covers the background necessary to understand low-tech process-based restoration. Speifically, the following topics are covered:

  • Scope of Degradation
  • Structurally-Starved Riverscapes
  • Riverscapes States and Conditions
  • A Review of Restoration

Chapter 1 also has appendices on:

  • Appendix A: Partial Selection of Past Literature Relevant to Low-Tech Restoraton
  • Appendix B: Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration Semantics
  • Appendix C: Existing Low-Tech Practices
  • Appendix D: Nothing is Really New
  • Appendix E: Partial Selection of Past Literature Relevant to Low-Tech Restoration
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Implications for Practice

  • Riverscapes are composed of connected floodplain and channel habitats that together make up the valley bottom.
  • The scope of degradation of riverscapes is massive. Tens of thousands of miles of riverscapes are in poor or fair condition.
  • Structural-starvation is both a direct cause of degradation, as well as a consequence of land use changes and direct modification of stream and riparian areas.
  • Engineering-based restoration tends to emphasize channel form and stability, rather than promoting the processes that create and maintain healthy riverscapes, which leads to increased costs and a limited ability to restore more miles of riverscapes.

  • Process-based restoration focuses on restoring physical processes that lead to healthy riverscapes.
  • Low-cost, simple, hand-built structures have been used for over a century. Restoration principles are needed to guide the use of low-tech structures in order to address the scope of degradation, which will require that practitioners “let the system do the work.”
  • The overarching goal of low-tech restoration is to improve the health of as many miles of riverscapes as possible and to promote and maintain the full range of self-sustaining riverscape processes.


PBR Literature

Perhaps the two most definitive resources on Process-Based Restoration for riverscapes have been Beechie et al. (2010) and Roni & Beechie (2013). Please also see Appendix A.


Beechie T, Sear DA, Olden JD, Pess GR, Buffington JM, Moir H, Roni P and Pollock MM. 2010. Process-based principles for river restoration. Bioscience. 60(3): 209-222. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2010.60.3.7

Roni P and Beechie T (Eds). 2013. Stream and Watershed Restoration: A Guide to Restoring Riverine Processes and Habitats. Wiley: Chichester, U.K., 300 pp. DOI: 10.1002/9781118406618

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