Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
CONTINUING EDUCATION ON STREAM RESTORATION IN THE CENTRAL APPALACHIANS: A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN DIVERSE ACADEMICS, EXPERIENCED PRACTITIONERS, AND A STATE AGENCY
A series of stream restoration short courses has been offered since 2002 by Buck Engineering, the West Virginia Division of Highways, and three colleges at West Virginia University. The series consists of five different courses, each taught by individuals with skills matching short-course topics and level of expertise. Academics versed in the fundamental principles of fluvial geomorphology or fresh-water and riparian ecology teach the two introductory courses: Introduction to Stream Functions and Processes and Methods for Stream Channel Assessment and Analysis. Two stream channel design courses are taught primarily by a practitioner with over a decade of applied stream restoration experience. A stream ecosystem assessment short course is offered concurrently with a graduate-level fisheries and wildlife management course. WV DOH provided most of the students and some instruction in nearly all courses. Most of the >600 students in 18 courses to date have been civil engineers; environmental scientists have been the second largest contingent. Although most students are capable, successful, university-educated professionals, <10 percent have any prior geomorphology courses and <25 percent have taken an ecology course. Perspectives on geologic time, dynamic equilibrium, and basic stream ecology are more difficult to get across than specific concepts or procedures. Generally, surveying and numerical skills of students entering the program are superb. The series has been highly successful at introducing many individuals to fundamental principles essential to understanding the best interests of Central Appalachian streams. Having served many highway construction professionals, the program's next goal is to broaden its audience to include the mineral industries, especially coal mining and reclamation. Procedures for assessing student learning outcomes remain an important issue to be addressed in this series, as is the case throughout the whole field of applied fluvial geomorphology training.