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Home » News/Events » The Journal » May 2014 » Looking Back at Fifteen Years of Riparian Restoration

Looking Back at Fifteen Years of Riparian Restoration

By Irv Schiffman

It has been fifteen years since Sacramento River Partners began its restoration activities on the Sacramento River. The success of the organization did not go unnoticed and within a few years we dropped the name "Sacramento" and became simply River Partners. At our 10th; anniversary, we were at work on eight California rivers; now, as we celebrate our 15th anniversary, we have completed or are presently engaged in restoration efforts on thirteen California rivers.

In this anniversary edition of the Journal, the staff of River Partners surveys the organization’s efforts over the past fifteen years. The science of riparian restoration has advanced over this period and River Partners has been a leader in the field. The field itself is certain to become more complex as restoration specialists are forced to deal with issues of flooding, drought and whatever additional challenges are brought on by climate change.

In his cover essay, president John Carlon reviews the mission and growth of River Partners, the learning curve associated with a relatively new restoration process, how the organization responded to the concerns of farmers and the flood-control community, and its cooperative relationship with stakeholders, policy-makers and the public.

Senior Restoration Biologist Helen Swagerty discusses River Partners work in the Sacramento Valley and illustrates how, over its fifteen-year existence, its mission has expanded to include land acquisition, meeting community needs, and educating policy-makers.

The collaborative article written by four members of the River Partners science staff explains why the organization has earned a strong reputation for designing and implementing science-based restoration projects, utilizing methods that include hydraulic modeling, specifically-oriented planting designs, and long-term wildlife monitoring.

Julie Rentner’s summary essay on River Partner’s thirteen years of restoration activity on the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge presents a photo-oriented timeline that creatively reviews our efforts on the Refuge; Julie then discusses what lessons can be learned from the experience.

The San Diego watershed is River Partners newest area of restoration activity and David Neubert writes about how we got there, what we are doing there, the challenges confronted, particularly with regard to water delivery, and future projects in the region.

On May 31 River Partners will celebrate its 15th anniversary and we are asking our partners and supporters to save the date and join us as we look back at our past accomplishments and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

The above article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of the River Partners Journal.