Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Wrong Approach for Stream Restoration

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Wrong Approach for Stream Restoration

The biggest problem with the so-called natural channel design approach to stream "restoration" for us in the greater Washington, D.C. region is that it is planned and implemented in completely the wrong places: small order, interior forested, upper headwater streams and wetlands. Natural channel design (Rosgen method) is mainly applicable to large order streams and rivers, especially the kinds one finds in the American west. Applying it to small order, upper headwater stream channels of the deeply dissected Fall Zone of our area is a misuse of the methodology, a misunderstanding of eastern Fall Zone hydrology and stream geomorphology, a sure recipe for failure, a mismanagement of public funds by inappropriately targeting sediment-control projects in places with low levels of the very nutrients for which funding is based, and an unacceptable loss of irreplaceable native forest, wildlife, and landscape memory.

The controversial stream construction projects currently planned throughout the region embody the worst elements of these misguided land use projects at virtually every level, from land giveaway to poor planning to rubber-stamping by elected officials.

Rod Simmons, Environmental Scientist

John Field, PhD, Stream Restoration Specialist and Fluvial Geomorphologist

Tony Fleming, Hydrogeologist

Barbara Southworth, Environmental Science and Policy Specialist

Greg Zell, Natural Resource Specialist

Edd Barrows, PhD, Georgetown University Biology Professor

Andrew Macdonald, PhD, Geologist and Environmental Council of Alexandria Chair

Laura Anderko, PhD, Georgetown University Professor, Health Studies and Climate Change

Jim Long, PhD, Physicist and past president of the Mattawoman Watershed Society

Ken Bawer, Watts Branch Watershed Alliance, Vice President