River and Floodplain Rehabilitation

This course focuses on river system components, how they interact to provide ecological function, assess restoration needs, and begin the planning process to restore physical and ecological processes.

For whom?

Early and mid-career resource managers and water professionals with responsibilities for planning and overseeing restoration activities or with interest in developing such activities.


BSc in Biology/Ecology, Physical geography, Agronomy, Environmental Science, Urban Planning, or comparable; or similar level of professional achievement through experience with environmental restoration or rehabilitation projects.

Learning objectives

Upon completion, the participant should be able to:
  1. Explain the importance and meaning of general concepts related to rehabilitation of rivers and floodplains, including integrated river basin management, the ecosystem approach, and ecosystem functions and services
  2. Explain ecosystem rehabilitation and restoration concepts, and link them to the physical, biological and ecological processes in rivers
  3. Determine the technical principles and enigneering tools needed for river and floodplain rehabilitation
  4. Assess the needs for developing an effective river rehabilitation plan and identify and involve relevant stakeholders in this process
  5. Translate understanding of the river ecosystem, technical principles and tools, stakeholder participation and river rehabilitation planning into objectives and integrated plan for river rehabilitation

The course begins with detailed consideration of river system components and how they interact to provide the ecological functions and ecosystem services people depend upon. The next topic examines techniques to assess restoration needs in river basins, engage stakeholders, and begin the planning process. Lastly, the course examines some engineering techniques to rehabilitate and restore physical and ecological processes in rivers to recover services desired by dependent communities.


1. River ecosystem, hydrological and ecological functions and ecosystem services

  • The case for river rehabilitation, ecological functions and services in rivers and floodplains and the impacts of lost functions and services
  • Rehabilitation and restoration concepts, management frameworks, ecosystem approach
  • Riverine physical, biological, ecological processes, natural disturbance and variability, and ecological functioning of rivers

2. Assessment of rehabilitation needs in river basins, stakeholder engagement and planning process

  • Situation and stakeholder analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement in planning, design and implementation
  • Problem analysis (exercise)
  • Objective setting for restoration and rehabilitation (exercise)
  • Action and management planning

3. Engineering techniques for physical and ecological processes

  • Bank stabilization
  • Instream habitat restoration
  • Riparian zone restoration


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