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Abstract: Session B  11:10 am (Back to Session B)
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Getting to Stage Zero: A Resilient Approach to Stream Restoration in a Changing Climate  

Scott McGill
Ecotone, Inc.
Forest Hill, MD

Kevin Smith
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Baltimore, MD

Stage zero channels as described in Clure and Thorne’s 2013 paper entitled “A Stream Evolution Model Integrating Habitat and Ecosystem Benefits” are increasingly recognized as having high value characteristics because of the multiple ecosystem services that these aggradational channels provide. Stage zero channels, essentially multithreaded stream-wetland complexes with extensive roughness elements, have extremely well connected floodplains with elevated water tables, spatially variable hydrologic regimes and structurally complex aquatic and riparian habitat. As such, they multiply the quantity and array of aquatic and terrestrial habitat for many flora and fauna, including coldwater species that are in decline. Stage zero channels, as compared to traditional transport stream reaches, reduce stream power and deliver an aggradational reach which store sediment and process nutrients.  We will discuss the types and features of stage zero channels, where they are found in the landscape, and the design methodologies utilized in restoring and converting reaches to stage zero. Several case studies will be presented.  Stage zero approaches to restoration can provide more resilient and adaptive systems when compared to single thread designs in a changing climate.   Grant making and regulatory agencies may prefer the stage zero approach for its reduced risk, multiple habitat benefits, and as a resilient adaptive management approach to climate change.