Technical Workshop on Large Wood Applications and Research Needs in River Settings
(1) What is the current state of science and engineering in the field of large wood restoration projects within riverine environments?
(2) What are pertinent science and technology gaps in the field of large wood design and implementation in riverine areas?
(3) What opportunities exist for productive collaboration on large wood project activities and research between agencies and practitioners working in this field?
Need and Benefit
A recent interagency workshop between the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was held on the topic of river restoration in Sacramento, CA. One of the products of the workshop was a list of emerging science areas that would benefit from more research and collaboration. Specific to this proposal, the workshop participants recommended a followup workgroup be convened to discuss the current state of practice and research needs for use of large wood in river restoration projects. Participants noted that the practice of using large wood in river restoration has become increasingly popular and is growing in numbers throughout western river systems. It is not uncommon to hear of projects with hundreds and even thousands of wood pieces getting installed, with the priority goal to improve habitat conditions for salmonids and often secondary goals of managing riverflows, collecting wood that floated in from the upstream river, and reducing bank erosion. While large numbers of wood structures are being installed, there is limited literature available documenting success or failures along with design tools and practices.
Various Federal and State agencies are advocating that Reclamation use more wood as a "soft" engineering approach to meet endangered species requirements while maintaining water delivery needs. This implies that the use of wood in Reclamation projects will continue in the future, making it necessary to encourage additional research and collaboration among practitioners in this field. Currently, there are no specific venues available geared to get people involved in wood projects together to share information and collectively document research needs and available data that can be mined to help facilitate research and learning. The proposed workshop will provide an opportunity for individuals and agencies working in the field of large wood to collectively discuss current state-of-the-art tools and gaps where research is needed. This will help inform and prioritize future research efforts related to large wood. This workshop will also further Corps and Reclamation interagency collaboration and partnerships as recommended in the recent river restoration workshop.
Independent Peer Review
The following documents were reviewed by qualified Bureau of Reclamation employees. The findings were determined to be achieved using valid means.
Large Wood Research Workshop Summary Report, February 2012, Seattle, WA (final, PDF,
By David Bandrowski, Jennifer Bountry, Connie Svoboda, Michael Sixta, Kendra Russell, Zac Corum and Jock Conyngham
Report completed on June 18, 2013
Bureau of Reclamation Review
The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.
Large Wood Research Roadmap (interim, PDF,
By David Bandrowski
Report completed on December 12, 2012
This information was last updated on May 5, 2015
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