2022 BLM Low-Tech Riverscape Restoration Workshop


Sponsored by:
This workshop was held August 9-11, 2022. It was a mix of field and classroom instruction. The BLM Miles City Field Office hosted the event.


This workshop was solicited by BLM’s Alden Shallcross, the State Lead - Montana/Dakotas Aquatic Habitat Management Program. The workshop was made possible thanks to the generous support of the BLM Montana/Dakotas, and a grant to Utah State University’s Restoration Consortium and Joe Wheaton’s ET-AL lab. The workshop content grew out of over 20 LTPBR workshops taught by Utah State University and the online modules were developed in 2020 for an NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife workshop series.

See the “Teaching While Doing” summary put together by our amazing local Miles City Field Office workshop hosts, including Christina Stuart, Christopher Morris and Dan Fox, as well as State Aquatics Lead, Alden Shallcross.

Workshop Description

This workshop will introduce BLM staff and partners to ‘low-tech’ process-based approaches for restoring streams and their associated riparian areas (riverscapes) to benefit fish, wildlife, and working lands. Participants will learn principles guiding low-tech process-based restoration and become familiar with simple, hand-built tools, including Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) and Post-Assisted Log Structures (PALS), intended to mimic and promote specific ecosystem processes. Participants will gain basic skills in the planning, design, and implementation phases of project development. Course content is supported by a published Design Manual. Instruction will be a mix of lectures, discussions, hands-on exercises at the desktop and in the field. Learning will culminate on Day 3 in construction of LTPBR structures on Pumpkin Creek.


The target audience for the virtual field workshop is Montana-Dakota BLM Field Staff and their conservation partners interested in improving the health of riverscapes BLM manages with low-tech PBR.

When it is taught as a field workshop.

The target audience for the field workshop series was primarily BLM staff, and key partners. BLM will select key representatives involved in LTPBR of riverscapes to participate. Anticipated participants include state/area/local specialists (biologists/engineers) and select field staff. The overall goal is to build a cadre of staff in each State to evaluate the technique and serve as local sources of expertise across the range. To keep the hands-on exercises effective, we limited invitation only enrolment to roughly 45 participants per workshop.


Classroom Instruction - Days 1 & 2

  • Day 1: Introduction to Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration and Underlying Science & Case Studies for Low-Tech - (local field trip; mostly class-room in Miles City) - 9 AM to 5 PM with evening dinner starting at 6:30
  • Day 2 - Planning Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration and Designing Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration (all class-room in Miles City) - 9 AM to 5 PM

Days 1 & 2 will be held at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds Event Center

Day 1 Evening Dinner, Social & Storytime from Jay Wilde - Riverside Park

We will enjoy an evening dutch oven dinner sponsored by Anabranch Solutions and catered by Miles City local Christina Stuart & Company. Please show up at Riverside Park any time between 6:00 and 6:45 PM. Dinner will begin being served around 6:45ish PM, and we will hear rancher Jay Wilde’s story of brining back beaver to his ranch beginning at 7:00. We will wrap sometime between 8:30 and 9:00.

Learn More about
Jay Wilde's Birch Creek Story

Construction - Day 3 - Pumpkin Creek

  • Day 3 - Implementing Low-Tech Process-Based Restoration on Pumpkin Creek (field all-day) - 7:30 AM to 3 PM

We will meet on site at 7:30 (early to take advantage of lower morning temperatures for construction).

Learn more about Pumpkin Creek here.

Learn More about
Pumpkin Creek

Course Materials

Slides, Videos & Handouts

Module 1 - Intro
Slides , Recorded Lectures and Exercises
Module 2 - Science
Slides , Recorded Lectures and Exercises
Module 3 - Planning
Slides , Recorded Lectures and Exercises
Module 4 - Design
Slides , Recorded Lectures and Exercises
Module 5 - Implementation
Slides , Recorded Lectures and Exercises

Workshop Textbooks

Mandatory Texts - A hard copy of both the manual and pocket-guide will make your participation in the workshop easier, but free digital versions are available below. If you do not have hard copies, please have a PDF open in the background. For the field workshop, participants will be provided a hard copy of the Pocket Guide:

For the workshop, we rely on the a Design Manual and the Pocket Guide, which free electronic versions are below. Print copies of manual are available for ~ $60 on Amazon or on BookBaby and waterproof versions of the pocket guide can be purchased here.

Instruction Team


Stephen N. Bennett1,2,3

Ecologist, Adjunct Professor

Joseph Wheaton1,2

Professor of Riverscapes

Virtual Instruction Team (virtual resources)

Mark Beardsley4


Nicolaas Bouwes3,2,1

Aquatic Ecologist, Adjunct Professor

Ben Goldfarb

Author, Environmental Journalist, & Beaver Believer

Jeremy Maestas5


Scott Shahveridan2,1

Fluvial Geomorphologist

Colin Thorne6

Professor of Physical Geography

Nick Weber2,3,1

Fish Ecologist
#### Instructor Affiliations








Registration is free, but is by invitation only. Contact Alden Shalcross for more information.

Registration is now Closed


BOOK BEFORE July 1, 2022 to secure discount rate!

For those travelling to Miles City from out of town, we have secured a group rate at the Mile City Hotel & Suites for a discounted room rate of $129 for a King or Double Queen Deluxe. There are a variety of other lodging options in Miles City as well.

RATE: Room rates are net NON commissionable, quoted exclusive of applicable taxes and fees and MUST BE BOOKED BY CALLING the property direct at, 406-234-1000. This is a Group Rate. In order to receive the Group Rate, a person reserving a room must specify the Group Name of “BLM Workshop”, while making their reservation. Quoted rates are available through the Cutoff Date, and are still available for the public to book, so please have guests book rooms ASAP.

RESERVATIONS (Individual call-in): Each guest must call to reserve and guarantee their own room reservations. Each guest will be responsible for the payment of his or her own room. The quoted rate will be honored, through 11:59 pm on 7/1/22, while availability lasts, AND the guest refers to the Group Name of “BLM Workshop”.

CANCELLATION: Rooms will be reserved with a 24 hour prior to arrival date cancellation. Neither party shall be responsible for failure to perform this contract if circumstances beyond their control, (including, but not limited to: acts of God, shortage of supplies furnished by the Hotel, governmental authority, or declared war in the US) make it illegal or impossible for the hotel to hold the event.

Field Gear

This is a hands-on workshop. For the field portions, we will be hiking and working on real construction projects. Your safety is our top priority, but you are the most important person in ensuring your safety and comfort. So bring common sense. Our workshop is in the Fall in the mountains. You should be prepared for anything from sunny skies and sunburn, to snow and hypothermia (yes we’ve already had our first snow-storms, and yes we will work in the snow). We will be hiking through and doing work in small, wadeable streams. We strongly recommend a pair of chest waders and wading boots, in case Pumpkin Creek is flowing during the construction day. It is also possible we will be building structures in a hot, dry creek with isolated pools, so come prepared for a variety of weather. You also should bring whatever outdoor clothing and gear to keep yourself comfortable. Layers, coats, gloves, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a dry change of clothes for afterwards are all a must. For Day 3, no open-toed shoes will be allowed. Where work clothing suitable for a construction site.

We will provide you with basic personal protective equipment (PPEs like work gloves, eye protection, hard hats, ear protection). However, if you have any other

If you have any allergies or medical conditions that we should be aware of, please notify your instructor.

Meals, Snacks

Meals are provided with your registration to help us run the workshop more efficiently, as follows:

  • Day 1 (Classroom)
  • Day 2 (Classroom)
    • Morning coffee and snacks provided
    • Lunch provided from Boog’s BBQ
    • On your own for dinner
  • Day 3 (Field Construction Day)
    • No breakfast or coffee provided (come fueled up and caffinated)
    • Bag lunches, snacks and beverages provided in field. Please bring your own water bottle.
    • On your own for dinner.

We will make sure that for snacks and meals there are some gluten-free options, but those with other dietary restrictions should make other arrangements.

Emergency Preparedness

In the event of an emergency, most of our field visits and the classroom at the fairgrounds should all have cell reception of dialing 911. We will have some First Responder certified participants and instructors, and we will have first aid kits available. The closest Emergency Room is:

Holy Rosary Healthcare- Emergency Room 2600 Wilson St, Miles City, MT 59301 406-233-2600

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