Workshop #2   8:30 am – 12 pm (BACK)
Wednesday, October 30

Stream Restoration Permitting Process – Advances and Challenges

Joe Berg, Biohabitats, Inc.                                           Joe DaVia, Corps of Engineers
Keith Underwood, U&A, Inc.                                      Bill Seiger, MDE
Kevin Smith, Maryland DNR                                      Unconfirmed EPA, Region 3 (invited)
Erik Michelsen, South River Federation                  Steve Saari, DC DOE (invited)

Stream restoration is a relatively young field, focused on the restoration of streams with a diverse set of characteristics (e.g., slope, watershed conditions, soils/geology, etc.).  Restoration is a term that has multiple meanings, from rehabilitation through restoration with some level of ecological integrity or historic fidelity to some temporal and/or spatial reference conditions.  As a result, no one restoration method is ideal for all restoration projects, and several methods have been developed and are currently used singularly or in combination.  Similarly, restoration goals vary, including different levels of emphasis on limiting horizontal movement, bank and bed stabilization, water quality improvements, flood attenuation, habitat improvement, etc.  In addition, generalized concerns from the academic community that the benefits of stream restoration have not been adequately documented and may not justify society’s investments need to be considered. 

Finally, we have a permitting environment where reasonable people may not be able to agree on appropriate resource management decisions, stream restoration design elements, and design team preeminence.  This presentation will use a set of current stream restoration projects to identify and discuss some of the challenges that practitioners, grantors, proponents, and regulators face in evaluating restoration opportunities, setting project goals, reviewing project designs, and making permit decisions on specific restoration projects. 

Concepts we plan to discuss include regulated resource conflicts (e.g., wetland or forest impacts resulting from stream restoration), management perspectives (e.g., watershed imperviousness too high, restoration not a good investment of limited resources), resource context (e.g., site doesn’t look like it needs to be restored), relevance of recent and past historic and contemporaneous conditions, disagreement over project purpose (e.g., in-stream stormwater management), issues with project design details (e.g., stability concerns), and design team responsibility for the project. 

Our intent is to have this presentation will stimulate discussion, as most designers, permit reviewers, and project funders have first hand experience with one or more relevant projects touching on one or more of these issues.  We will each provide a brief description of our key issues, describe current efforts, etc., and open the workshop to discussion amongst the panelists and the workshop attendees.