The investments being made in urban watersheds in the name of “ecosystem conservation” and “public safety” are too large for preconceived solutions, simplistic analyses, or lack of accountability. To address these concerns, Stillwater’s specific services include:
• Watershed planning in the context of actual or potential land-use change and potential climate change impacts;
• Assessment of the factors potentially limiting life stages of threatened and endangered species, including fish, wildlife, and plants;
• Instream, riparian, and upland habitat assessments, including designation of jurisdictional wetlands and habitat evaluation of ESA-listed species;
• Analysis of urbanization-induced alterations to the discharge of water and sediment and their linkages to species of concern;
• Design of mitigation and restoration programs that balance threatened/endangered species with the risks posed to infrastructure by flooding and channel instability;
• Designs for wetland buffers and swales to counteract end-of-pipe water-quality issues;
• Assessment of fine sediment sources and controls that lie in the center of water quality and TMDL regulatory concerns;
• Project permitting;
• Adaptive management programs that include statistically robust monitoring and evaluation designs;
• Third-party expert review of proposals for urban stream “restoration.”
Urban streams pose unique challenges for restoration and enhancement efforts.
Stillwater Sciences has been assisting researchers at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and Colorado State University in assessing the runoff and sediment changes associated with urban development (“hydromodification”), and the resulting consequences for downstream channels, in the five southern California coastal counties. Multiple sites, ranging from urbanized to rural areas, have been analyzed to create a robust dataset of channel and watershed conditions to assess changes attributable to urbanization. These baseline results will be used with model simulations and future channel surveys to guide future reach- and watershed-scale management.