Ken Schwab

A Northern California Urban Stream Restoration: Measuring the Investment Over the Long-Term

Local governments often complete stream restoration projects to return them to a healthy state, and enhance the surrounding community. However, rarely are evaluations conducted to quantify the purported benefits are actually occurring. Most stream restoration projects forgo monitoring, especially over the long-term, and even more so for restored urban streams (Kondolf 1995; Lawrence et al. 2010). My research seeks to fill this gap in post-project evaluation by focusing on the ‘day-lighted’, i.e. returning a stream to the surface from a culvert, Baxter Creek restoration project at Poinsett Park in El Cerrito. My project is unique because this case study will add an economic component and build upon similar data collected from 1999 through 2009 which included: biological sampling, habitat assessment, and neighborhood surveys to evaluate community perception of the restoration. Valuable information may be obtained that can contribute to a limited repository of long-term data, playing a vital role in advancing freshwater science and restoration ecology. Furthermore, results obtained can guide future restoration efforts to help ensure that governments continue to receive positive returns on restoration investments.

My project is funded by SPUR and will evaluate biotic, abiotic, social, and socioeconomic aspects of the creek and compare the results with previous research. I will use four methods which include: Benthic Macroinvertebrate (BMI) and habitat assessments, a neighborhood survey, and a housing valuation analysis.

This hour long mentor/mentee lab experience will present general information on BMIs, along with the river continuum concept (Vannote et al. 1980). You will learn: what you may find in our streams, how we collect and store samples, how to identify specimens under the microscope, and how the data helps inform us about nature.
The Resh Lab