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Regenerative Stream Conveyance (RSC) Construction Techniques

Instructors:    Kevin Smith, Deputy Director, Chesapeake and Coastal Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Joe Arrowsmith, PE, Water Resources Engineer, Straughan Environmental, LLC
Donna An, Principal, Actaeon, LLC  
Chris Becraft, Project Manager, Underwood and Associates, Inc.

Required Materials:  Pen, paper and constructive dialogue.

Provided Materials: Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s Regenerative Stream Conveyance Construction Guidance 2018 (hardcopy)

Learning Objectives:

1.     Understand the applicability of RSC as a tool to protect and restore the natural landscape.

2.     Develop an understanding of natural hydrology, altered hydrology from our developed landscape and hydrologic goals of RSC.

3.     Develop an understanding of key techniques to establish regenerative conditions and construct RSC features.

4.     Recognize the need for adaptive management practices and learning key adaptive management techniques.

Workshop Description:
Regenerative Stream Conveyance (RSC) is a restoration approach that re‐establishes conditions necessary for healthy, natural stream ecosystems by freeing stream flows from incised channels to hydrologically reconnect with the floodplain, enabling robust interaction between groundwater and surface water, and re‐establishing native vegetation. The key term is “regenerative”; RSC aims to re‐establish lost hydrologic conditions critical to reversing the degrading trend and resetting it into a regenerative mode. RSC is recognized as a Best Management Practice (BMP), demonstrated to be effective by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program’s Expert Panel on Stream Restoration to Define Removal Rates for Individual Stream Restoration Projects (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2012).

In 2018, Maryland Department of Natural Resources published the Regenerative Stream Conveyance (RSC) Construction Guidance to present conceptual information on constructing regenerative projects and implementation techniques for common features. Past efforts have generated checklists, guidance documents and manuals focused specifically on designing RSC projects. Contractors, however, play a crucial role in translating two dimensional engineered plans into restoring fully functional three‐dimensional natural ecosystems. This workshop and accompanying guidance document aims to support contractors’ efforts to advance regenerative stream restoration by setting the foundation for constructing successful regenerative stream restoration projects. Although contractors are the main audience, the information presented in the guidance can help bridge the gap in translation between design, construction and maintenance phases of projects by serving as a common reference for water resource and ecological engineers, permit reviewers, contractors, construction inspectors, construction managers and watershed restoration practitioners.