Welcome to the Cheap and Cheerful Stream Restoration website. This website provides resources for those interested in learning about how to restore streams, rivers, riparian areas and floodplains by designing projects that mimic and encourage the dam building activities of beaver. It is designed with the river restoration practitioner in mind, therefore it focuses on the questions, assessments and design considerations that need to be addressed when undertaking any restoration project.
The practices outlined throughout this website are the based on our current understanding of the physical and biological processes that shape river and floodplain ecosystems. Therefore, while this website is not intended to deliver a comprehensive review of river systems we have included references so that those seeking more detailed information can travel as deep into the beaver pond as they would like to. For those who are looking for a recipe, or blueprint for an approach to restoration, the information here should provide an adequate starting point.
Unlike a design manual that has a beginning and an end, this website is designed with the knowledge that restoration practitioners, land managers and others interested in restoring streams come from diverse backgrounds that include: hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, ecology, fisheries, rangeland management, environmental policy, engineering etc. In order for users to more efficiently locate the information most relevant to them we have created individual pages to address different facets of cheap and cheerful restoration. For users with strong backgrounds in hydrology and fluvial geomorphology the Background information will be review. For those with a less extensive background it will provide context necessary to understand the practices outlined throughout this website. You will not be an expert after reading the information provided here. You will however, know just enough to be dangerous. Our goal is to help you get started on cheap and cheerful restoration projects, and more importantly help you learn what questions to ask, when to ask them, and when to ask someone else for help. The science and practice of river restoration ultimately takes place in the field, and no amount of website reading can substitute for field experience.
Our goal in creating this website is to promote an approach to river restoration that we believe has the potential to improve the health of thousands of miles of stream, due to its low cost, and technically undemanding practices. We do not think the approaches outlined here will work everywhere, and large portions of this site are dedicated to helping identify when and where cheap and cheerful projects are appropriate.
Funding for this project was provided by the Utah Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University and Anabranch Solutions.