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LEARNING FROM NATURE’S STABILITY: BUILDING A MULTI-PURPOSE DATA BASE APPLICABLE TO STREAM ASSESSMENT, RESTORATION AND EDUCATION

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  701P0904,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.17383)
Authors:   T. D. KEANE
Keywords:   Kansas, reference reach streams, Rosgen level III assessment and classification, stream restoration, natural fluvial process, streambank stabilization, restoration design, new channel design, natural channel design restoration

Terms such as self-sustaining, sustainable, regenerative, and self-maintaining are increasingly employed in the discourse of environmental engineering, landscape architecture, environmental planning and design, and in traditional architecture. What do these terms mean and where do we look for definition, for depth of understanding and for consistency of application among the allied disciplines dealing with environmental integrity?

We must look to natural systems for models of sustainability, for efficiency of energy use, for balance between biomass production and symbiotic interaction and for recycling of all materials. Thus, if we are to learn to manage, plan and design sustainably, we must learn from nature; we must learn from natural stable systems.

To examine and document stable, self-sustaining, fluvial systems in Kansas we have sought and studied reference reach streams. This EPA funded study has employed Rosgen (1996) level III assessment and classification with modifications and additions deemed appropriate for the hydrophysiographic provinces of the Great Plains and Central Lowlands.

This work summarizes data collected to date, its analysis, preliminary findings, and most importantly, its intended applications. If future works of stream restoration are to be sustainable, they must be founded upon a sound understanding of natural fluvial process within given hydrophysiographic parameters. Presented here are examples of our data and detailed description of its collection, record and analysis. Elaboration on the multiple ways in which this data will be applied will be offered. Applications include: education of students and professionals, stabilization and restoration design for impaired streams, new channel design (ie: stormwater conveyance) and natural channel design restoration. Presented here is a brief description of what we have learned in the field, how we will apply this learning, and how others might benefit from this extensive data collection process.

Rosgen, D. 1996. Applied River Morphology. Wildland Hydrology. Pagosa Springs, CO

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