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Open Access: Natural Stable Channel Design

Wednesday, April 8, 2020  
Posted by: Keith MacCallum
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Houston and Harris County, Texas have been at the center of numerous national stories regarding disaster-level flooding in recent years. Since the year 2000, Houston has endured 10 storm events greater than the statistically-predicted 100-year precipitation event. The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has been responsible for providing flood protection to this vibrant metropolitan area of over 4.6 million people since a special purpose district created by the Texas Legislature in 1937 in response to devastating floods that struck the region in 1929 and 1935. In the 1990’s the HCFCD, in accordance with their statutory mission to “Provide flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values” began to incorporate the emerging technology of fluvial geomorphology and stream restoration into the development and management of their critical flood control system and infrastructure. Today, the HCFCD applies this naturalistic engineering approach wherever possible in their efforts to meet the ever-increasing flood control needs of this community that is expected to exceed a metropolitan area population of 10 million residents by 2040. This webinar will demonstrate how these efforts have been successful in proving the ability of these methodologies to provide the ultimate solution for meeting flood control, resiliency, and water quality goals for this community. It is hoped that the webinar will inform the participants sufficiently to evaluate the potential for these same ecological restoration prescriptions in their own communities.

Speaker Bio: Mr. Forbes serves as the National Director of SWCA Environmental Consultants’ Ecological Restoration Engineering Group. His experience as a consulting civil/environmental engineer spans more than 34 years and he has been recognized as a Diplomate – Water Resources Engineering (D.WRE) by the ASCE’s American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE). In the last 22 years, Mr. Forbes has applied his unique and diverse background toward the emerging field of sustainable watershed resources management. Of note, he has served as project manager/lead design engineer for numerous stream restoration, wetland restoration, and ecologically-enhanced channel stabilization/restoration design projects in Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, California, and Washington. Mr. Forbes has led fluvial geomorphological assessments, regional hydraulic geometry studies, natural channel designs (NCD), bioengineering bank stabilization, and upland and riverine erosion assessments, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Watershed Assessment of River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS) studies.  He has also been responsible for the hydrologic, open-channel hydraulic, and sediment transport and budget analysis to both assess the existing conditions and ensure the long-term sustainability of the restored streams and channels. Mr. Forbes has completed Level IV Fluvial Morphology and NCD training from Dave Rosgen and has employed Mr. Rosgen’s “Reference Reach” analog/empirical design methodologies in several stream restoration projects and fluvial geomorphological studies. However, he and his team also embrace and employ analytical, process-based hydraulic engineering design methodologies rooted in the science of open-channel hydraulics, erosion mechanics, and sediment transport theory.