Leadership Grant

Developing critical design tools and training in waterway restoration

$25,000 awarded to Waterways Restoration Institute in

As climate change exacerbates the urban heat island and disrupts watershed functions, geomorphically functioning urban streams and green spaces will become increasingly important features of livable cities. Many parts of California have already lost an estimated 90% of historical stream and wetland acreage, yet development continues to straighten, concrete, or culvert them.

Efforts to restore urban streams are often hindered by limited research and data demonstrating the effectiveness of geomorphically-driven, and bioengineered plant-based stream channel stabilizations. Expertise in restoration design is also scarce, and restoration experts are often not engaged in larger “integrated water” planning. This results in climate change resiliency planning that overlooks the benefits of restored streams and functioning floodplains for water resource management in conjunction with habitat preservation and recreational space.

With this Switzer Foundation Leadership Grant, Waterways Restoration Institute (WRI) is hiring Jessica Hall as a consultant to assist in the development and implementation of technical projects that expand regional knowledge of suitable bioengineering methods and materials for stream restoration.

Through mentoring and practice, Jessica will increase her ability to apply advanced restoration techniques and serve as trainer of restoration design. She will use her new expertise to train others in and advocate for holistic waterway restoration as an important climate resiliency strategy.