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California Riparian Restoration Handbook

Second Edition Now Available

River Partners’ Senior Restoration Ecologist, Tom Griggs, Ph.D., has just completed the second edition of the California Riparian Habitat Restoration Handbook under the cover of the Riparian Habitat Joint Venture. The Handbook provides an in-depth planning framework for professionals charged with implementing riparian conservation projects: project managers, land managers, planners, regulators, and funders

The second edition, which has doubled in size, offers an expanded treatment of the fundamental ecological issues to consider for successfully producing quality wildlife habitat. It contains additional graphics and case studies that illustrate its framework in bioregions throughout the state. Specifically, it provides guidelines to achieve success for wildlife usage based on site-specific conditions – soils and hydrology – while considering public safety objectives.

Additional topic covered are:

  • What partnerships, permits, tools and resources are required to implement a restoration project?
  • Which field methods should be used to ensure the greatest success given a site’s soils and hydrologic setting?
  • What works and doesn’t work in restoration?

Lead author, Tom Griggs, has been implementing on-the-ground conservation projects in the Central Valley for more than 20 years. During his history, he has seen projects struggle because they failed to account for maintenance needs or even lacked a basic understanding of riparian plants and historic river conditions.

“As opposed to a landscape architecture approach, this handbook lays out an approach grounded in wildlife ecology and informed by maintenance and engineering requirements. Assuming the raw materials are native plants, it guides practitioners and planners on how to design projects for the maximum wildlife benefit based on the specific ecology of the site,” says Griggs.

“The case studies in the appendix are important new additions. Restoration Fellow Meghan Gilbart found real world examples of restoration throughout California and has organized them into a format which illustrates how they follow the planning scenarios outlined in the book,” adds Griggs.

The California Riparian Habitat Restoration Handbook, second edition can be downloaded from River Partners’ website It is a project spearheaded by the Riparian Habitat Joint Venture, a 15 year-old coalition of nonprofit organizations and government agencies responsible for managing the state’s floodplain habitat resources.

River Partners, a nonprofit organization, is a member of the Riparian Habitat Joint Venture and has provided lead authorship on the handbook. Over the last 11 years, River Partners has restored more than 6,000 acres of river banks and floodplains, providing critical habitat for wildlife and sustainable solutions for California’s rivers. Its habitat restoration work supports efforts to sequester greenhouse gases, improve water and air quality, recover endangered species, improve public safety, and protect open space.

The above article originally appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of the River Partners Journal.