Field Sites

Stream Restoration
UNIV 298/GEOL 298/BIOL 298/ENST 298

Stream and river ecosystems suffer from many human-caused disturbances, including urbanization, agriculture, mining, and logging. Stream management and restoration has become a multi-billion dollar industry and promises to continue growing. Unfortunately, many restoration practices are applied without proper scientific understanding of processes underlying the supposed impairments, which leads to failure of restoration projects and wasted time and money. We plan to educate our students in the physical and biological processes operating at different spatial scales (from in-stream microhabitat to whole watershed) that interact to cause patterns of structure and impairment in stream ecosystems. On this solid foundation, we will then develop an integrated watershed management system and apply it to a local stream ecosystem impacted by human activity.

This course will follow a holistic process approach using hydrology, water quality, freshwater biology, fluvial geomorphology, and landscape architecture to understand how rivers function so that restoration approaches are in harmony with the natural river systems. Ultimately, our students will develop a restoration plan for a local stream with suggestions for specific management opportunities. In spring 2009, our goal is to develop a major restoration plan for Miller Run, the stream flowing from Bucknell's golf course, along the athletic buildings and emptying into Bull Run near St. George's Street. Our hope is to include this restoration plan in the Campus Master Plan process to reduce Bucknell's impact on Miller Run. In future semesters, plans could be developed for Bull Run, Turtle Creek, or other local streams with significant ecological problems and management/restoration scenarios.


  • What is stream restoration?
  • What are the most common approaches to stream restoration?
    • How well are they working?
    • What are the issues?
  • How can we infuse the science of rivers -- fluvial geomorphology and aquatic ecology -- into better design for stream restoration?
Ritter House • 835 Fraternity Road • Bucknell University • Lewisburg, PA 17837 • (570)577–1490
This initiative is funded in large part by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.