Riparian Restoration Projects

SSU Preserves Land Management Training Program

student collecting insects

Spring 2014 - Present

The Land Management Program prepares 20 students each Spring semester to work on ecological restoration projects at partner sites in Sonoma County. With WATERS support, a watershed unit was introduced into the program and included training in riparian restoration strategies and watershed management principles and skils. Partner organizations provided training and supervised students at work sites. Some students in the program additionally undertook independent watershed related research projects.

  • Staff: Suzanne DeCoursey (SSU Preserves)
  • Partners: Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, UC Davis Bodega Marine Reserve, Fairfield Osborn Preserve, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and Pepperwood Preserve

Insect Biodiversity Monitoring at Riparian Restoration Sites in the City of Santa Rosa

student collecting insects

Spring 2014

Students documented insect biodiversity at three sites slated for restoration in the City of Santa Rosa: Colgan Creek, Fresno Avernue Migration Corridor Preserve, and Samuel P Jones Shelter and Community Center. These data will serve as a baseline for comparison with future studies that determine how restoration efforts affect insect biodiversity.    

  • Faculty: Fran Keller (Biology)
  • Partners: City of Santa Rosa

Effects of Vegetation Management on Native Plants and Animals

February 2012-present

New riparian management techniques are focused on promoting native species diversity and maintaining flood capacity. These techniques include removing and controlling non-native blackberry, active restoration of native plant species, limbing the lower branches of existing trees to promote taller, shadier canopies and to allow maximum  flow during floods. Do these techniques meet the multiple objectives of controlling floods and increasing the abundance of native species? What are the effects on other organisms (e.g., birds and fish)? Can successional processes be ‘fast-forwarded’ to result in taller, shadier, riparian communities with an understory dominated by native plant cover?

  • Faculty: Caroline Christian (Environmental Studies and Planning)
  • Partners: SCWA

Vegetation measurements of this project are part of a separate SCWA-SSU contract to Caroline Christian

Copeland Creek Riparian Restoration Exercise Project

students working a garden bed to grow native riparian plants

Spring 2013-present

Stewardship and restoration of watercourses requires physical activity to clean up refuse, maintain paths, plant natives, and remove invasive species. At the same time, these activities can potentially improve the health of participants. This project examines the effects of self - paced restoration activities on heart rate and metabolism.

  • Faculty: Bulent Sokmen (Kinesiology)
  • Partners: City of Rohnert Park, SSU Preserves, SSU Garden Classroom

Blackberry Control on Copeland Creek

Summers 2012-present

Himilayan blackberry is a common invasive on the banks of Copeland Creek from the headwaters to the Laguna. A variety of control efforts are underway. WATERS sponsors summer crews from the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps who work at a variety of locations, including SSU campus and at SSU's Fairfield Osborn Preserve.

  • Staff: Suzanne DeCoursey (SSU Preserves), Craig Dawson (SSU Facilities)
  • Partners: Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps