Christine Kassab (’09)
Assessment of stream restoration structures in north-central Pennsylvania

Christine conducted a preliminary assessment of stream restoration projects in north-central Pennsylvania to assess their effectiveness to (1) limit channel incision, (2) reduce bank erosion and sediment inputs, or (3) improve aquatic habitat. She evaluated over 300 structures on 12 streams, most of which were completed within the past ten years using the methods of Natural Channel Design. The ultimate goal of this work is to provides guidelines for watershed groups and state regulatory agencies on ways to improve restoration efforts for Pennsylvania streams.

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Christine's field surveys found that approximately 75% of the stream restoration structures are damaged by erosion or deposition (ranking >1). Thirty-five percent of the structures have sustained significant damage (ranking >2) or significant erosion or deposition (ranking >3). Out of the four highly used structure types (cross vanes, j-hooks, log vanes, and rock vanes), j-hooks and rock vanes sustained the highest percentage of damage compared to the other two structures.

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Christine also compiled information on each project and synthesized her findings by creating a digital relational database using Microsoft Access.

Support for her research was provided by the Cora Brooks Foundation and the Degenstein Foundation.