Technical Report

River Restoration to Achieve a Stage 0 Condition: Summary of a Workshop Held November 5-6, 2020

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  • Restoration to achieve Stage 0 is a valley-scale, process-based (hydrologic, geologic and biological) approach that aims to reestablish stream depositional environments to maximize longitudinal, lateral, and vertical connectivity at base flows and facilitate development of dynamic, self-formed and self-sustaining wetland-stream complexes. The term Stage 0 originally described complex multi-channel conditions and wider floodplains that evidence suggests were common when Euro-Americans arrived. Stage 0 is one stage in a 9-stage stream channel evolution model. Stage 0 is now also more broadly used to describe stream restoration projects aimed at changing the current condition and future evolution of incised, single-channel streams to achieve those multi-channel and wider floodplain conditions. The Stage 0 approach has generated excitement among restoration practitioners and researchers. It is seen as an action on a scale commensurate with past impacts; potentially capable of putting streams and their floodplains on a trajectory to recovery that is sustainable with minimal future intervention. Projects that reset the valley surface elevation may include the transfer of large amounts of sediment into incised channels from adjacent terraces using heavy machinery, and placement of logs and boulders to create structure across the resulting floodplain. Recreating expanded, complex and resilient stream and floodplain habitats over the longer term may involve considerable short-term disturbance of existing stream environments. Because some of these streams currently support sensitive populations of focal or endangered species (most notably salmonids) projects designed to achieve a Stage 0 condition have raised some questions and concerns among land managers and regulators charged with recovering those species. The approach is relatively new, so there are also questions regarding terminology, implementation and monitoring approaches, and appropriate sites and scale for these projects. In this science and policy context, a Stage 0 Stream Restoration Workshop was held on November 5-6, 2020 with the goal to bring together practitioners, researchers, regulators and other stakeholders to discuss current topics and data gaps related to implementing and monitoring restoration projects intended to achieve a Stage 0 condition. The online workshop included expert presentations, questions and discussions during plenary sessions, and smaller breakout groups. This document summarizes the workshop proceedings.
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  • Behan, Jeff, K. Fetcho, R. Davis, and L. Gaines. 2021. River Restoration to Achieve a Stage 0 Condition: Summary of a Workshop Held November 5-6, 2020. Report to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (Salem, Oregon) and the Institute for Natural Resources (Corvallis, Oregon).
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  • This workshop was funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
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