Talk on Improving Streams

November 7, 2019 - 6:30 PM
Newport Visual Arts Center
777 NW Beach Dr
Newport, OR
MidCoast Watersheds Council

Dr. Chris Jordan in his natural habitat.

The reintroduction of beavers and large woody debris as a means of improving streams and creating more resilient watersheds will be the focus of a talk sponsored by MidCoast Watersheds Council on Thursday, Nov. 3, 6:30 p.m. at the Newport Visual Arts Center (777 N.W. Beach Dr.).  The event is free and open to all; refreshments will be served. 

The speaker will be Chris Jordan, a NOAA Research Fisheries Biology, who will discuss low-tech, “process-based” stream restoration methods.  Dr. Jordan works at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and is program manager for the Mathematical Biology and Systems Monitoring Program.  Trained as a mathematical biologist, he has worked on a wide range of biological topics. Recent work has focused on the design and implementation of large-scale monitoring programs to assess anadromous salmonid freshwater habitat and population status.  He has also worked to analyze the watershed-scale effect of management actions on salmonid habitat and population.  Current projects include the development of life-cycle simulation models to integrate knowledge on physical and biological processes into a management decision support framework and developing novel methods and criteria to assess and design projects needed for the successful management of endangered salmon populations.

Dr. Jordan will emphasize two types of efficient low-tech structures that are being installed in streams to achieve restoration goals. Placing multiple structures in complexes within a stream system in ways designed to mimic natural processes begins the process of rebuilding and sustaining good habitat.  These simple structures are called beaver dam analogues (BDAs) and post-assisted log structures (PALS). BDAs are channel-spanning, permeable structures, constructed using woody debris and willow or tree branches, to form ponds that mimic natural beaver dams and to attract beavers to maintain them. PALS are woody material of various sizes pinned together with wooden posts driven into the substrate to simulate natural wood accumulations and that capture additional wood over time. The goal of both structure placements is to achieve dynamic, self-sustaining and resilient habitat conditions.  

Across North America, rivers have been simplified and degraded by the systematic and widespread removal of beaver and large woody debris (LWD). Many streams are now no more than deep channels that don’t spread out floodwaters or create good salmon habitat.  Consequently, one of the major goals of the MidCoast Watersheds Council’s work and that of other similar groups and agencies is to restore the natural processes that large wood and beavers used to create.  To effect meaningful salmon restoration, it is important to learn how to do this work over a large scale and lower cost.

For more information about the event (including a MidCoast Watersheds Council meeting following the presentation) contact Ari Blatt,