Improving the urban stream restoration effort: Identifying critical form and processes relationships

Sue L. Niezgoda, Peggy A. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Stream restoration projects are often based on morphological form or stream type and, as a result, there needs to be a clear tie established between form and function of the stream. An examination of the literature identifies numerous relationships in naturally forming streams that link morphologic form and stream processes. Urban stream restoration designs often work around infrastructure and incorporate bank stabilization and grade control structures. Because of these imposed constraints and highly altered hydrologic and sediment discharge regimens, the design of urban channel projects is rather unclear. In this paper, we examine the state of the art in relationships between form and processes, the strengths and weaknesses of these existing relationships, and the current lack of understanding in applying these relationships in the urban environment. In particular, we identify relationships that are critical to urban stream restoration projects and provide recommendations for future research into how this information can be used to improve urban stream restoration design. It is also suggested that improving the success of urban restoration projects requires further investigation into incorporating process-based methodologies, which can potentially reduce ambiguity in the design and the necessity of using an abundant amount of in-stream structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-592
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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