Technical Workshop on Large Wood Applications and Research Needs in River Settings

Project ID: 3775
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Bountry
Research Topic: Ecosystem Needs
Funded Fiscal Years: 2012
Keywords: wood, workshop, research roadmap

Research Question

(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.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

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, 4.1MB)
By David Bandrowski, Jennifer Bountry, Connie Svoboda, Michael Sixta, Kendra Russell, Zac Corum and Jock Conyngham
Report completed on June 18, 2013

A workshop was held in Seattle, Washington from February 14-16, 2012 on large wood in rivers. Individuals who currently are researching, designing, and/or implementing large wood roles and placement in river restoration projects were invited. This report documents the outcomes from the workshop including discussions on current tools, data gaps, and research ideas that would assist with reach scale analysis, local design, implementation, and monitoring of large wood projects

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.

How Large Woody Debris in Streams and Rivers Can Help Habitats (final, PDF, 134KB)
By Jennifer Bountry
Publication completed on September 30, 2012

This bulletin summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Large Wood Research Roadmap (interim, PDF, 148KB)
By David Bandrowski
Report completed on December 12, 2012

A large wood research workshop was held in Seattle, Washington from February 14-16, 2012. Following the completion of the workshop report, the Science and Technology Program requested a tailored roadmap of large wood research concepts specific to Reclamation to help with analysis of future research proposals in this area of river restoration. This report documents the roadmap components.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20