Initial assessment of the Department of Water Resources Urban Streams Restoration Program
Thesis (M.S.) Division of Science and Environmental Policy
Millions of dollars have been spent on urban stream restoration projects. Relatively little monitoring has been conducted to help explain the varying nature of success and failure of these projects. The urban stream restoration effort will not advance without these data. Using a rapid assessment method based on uniform assessment protocols this study evaluated the multi-parameter success of 17 restoration projects funded by the California Department of Water Resources' Urban Streams Restoration Program. The restoration projects generally improve stream condition compared with paired unrestored sites. The amount of improvement does not likely depend on either the project age or the cost of the project. In most cases bank stabilization efforts are effective. Structural and nonstructural restoration practices overwhelmingly serve their purpose. A survey with project managers revealed that, in terms of flood control, most projects have reduced the incidence and magnitude of flooding. With regards to social success, the projects seem to be serving as a springboard for more restoration efforts and some projects increase stream stewardship in local communities.