Pacific Salmonids: Spawning Habitat Restoration

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(Course 2 of 2)
Course Title: Pacific Salmonids: Spawning Habitat Restoration
Course ID: BIO-304
Status: OPEN
Date(s): November 6, 2024: 8:30am - 4:30pm
November 7, 2024: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Location: Live Remote Attendance-- Pacific Time

Live Remote Attendance, WA
Instructors: Dr. Joseph E. Merz
Dr. Rocko A. Brown
Tuition: $795
$745 / $745* (Before October 6, 2024)


Save $50 when you register for the series! Classes listed below.
Pacific Salmonids: Ecology


**Note - For every course we have implemented live stream remote attendance options for those who prefer a no-contact alternative to in-person attendance.  You will need a computer and an internet connection.  We will follow the maximum in-person meeting size as per health authorities and if recommended we will only offer remote attendance.

If conditions permit, you are welcome to attend the course in-person, we likely will have between 5 to 10 in-person attendee's in a large room to provide safe spacing.  We also wipe every surface down and provide hand washing and disinfectant wipes as a courtesy.  If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us via email or phone 425 270 3274.

During state restrictions, in lieu of the in-person field activity portion of this course, we will provide all registered attendees a recording of our BIO-306: Upstream Fish Passage course free of charge.

How can we restore form and function to rivers, streams, and wetlands that support Pacific Salmon?  This course provides the intellectual tools to tackle assessment monitoring and restoration design of Pacific salmonid habitat.  

Some of the basic topics and questions covered include:

  • History of salmonid habitat restoration – How long have salmon issues been issues?  How have we responded?  What’s been working and what hasn’t?
  • Ecohydraulics – How does stream flow affect salmonid ecology and habitat forming processes?  What basic ecohydraulic processes do we need to account for?  What tools should we use? How can we use ecohydraulics to understand why a site is functional versus non-functional? 
  • Ecohydraulic design – the basic act of designing channel and floodplain features to meet specific target depths and velocities.  How do we take basic habitat information and design functional ecosystems?
  • Sediment transport – sediment is a vital aspect of rivers and streams and a key variable known to affect spawning.  How does sediment move in rivers?  How can we measure and model it?   What tools are available?
  • Forcing Elements – what role does wood and coarse sediment play in salmon rivers and streams?  How can we integrate Forcing elements into our design and management plans?
  • Monitoring – How do we measure project success?
  • Modern river restoration techniques – What tools do we have to restore salmonid habitat form and function?
  • Fish passage – How do we assess and correct fish passage limiting factors?


What attendees are saying about the course:

"I learned a ton ... [The instructors] are very knowledgeable and helpful when answering questions."  Meredith G., May 2019

"I really enjoyed the field component of the class. It incorporated the concepts we learned to a real-life situation." Shena H., November 2015

"Both Joe and Rocko were very engaging and knowledgeable. I really appreciated how enthusiastic and easy-to-listen-to they were." Mandy C., November 2015

"I liked the variety of material covered; how we had both the biology as well as the geomorphology." Paige A., Feb 2013



Intended Audience:

This course is designed for practitioners and agency personnel involved with field data collection, detailed design and/or review of river restoration projects. It provides general training in design, implementation and monitoring of in-stream habitat improvement projects in regulated streams and rivers, with an emphasis on the issues surrounding Pacific salmonid spawning.


Continuing Education Units: 2.00 CEUs

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Course Topics

The course will explain and demonstrate common techniques for:

  1. Assessing habitat and collecting and analyzing field data
  2. Integrating physical, biological and aesthetic objectives into habitat improvement design
  3. Characterizing and estimating sediment transport and sediment budgets for enhancement sites
  4. Designing effective monitoring programs
  5. Choosing appropriate fish habitat improvement designs
  6. Channel and instream structure design
  7. Sediment transport
  8. Understanding enhancement limitations
  9. Selecting equipment and material
  10. Fish passage assessment and design techniques
  11. Data and project presentation

About the Instructors

Dr. Joseph E. Merz

Dr. Joseph E. Merz

Dr. Merz is a registered scientist with the American Fisheries Society. He has over 20 years of experience working with aquatic resources and has been the principal scientist on several salmonid habitat restoration programs in the California Central Valley. He has taught environmental science, salmon biology and restoration courses for the past fourteen years.

Joe is known for his work with human and fisheries habitat interactions, and for his ability to communicate with scientific and stakeholder audiences alike. He has earned degrees in Environmental and Systematic Biology (Bachelors), Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo (1991); Biological Conservation (Masters), California State University, Sacramento (1994); and Conservation Ecology (Ph.D.), University of California, Davis (2004).

Dr. Merz has worked for California public, provide and non-profit entities on resource monitoring and fisheries habitat enhancement. He is noted as an environmental studies and natural resources lecturer, and for his successes working with stakeholders. He has coauthored a variety of peer-reviewed publications*, focusing on river rehabilitation, fish movement, invasive species, woody debris/redd associations, and evaluation of spawning habitat enhancement, among others. In line with his professional interests, he is a member of the Ecological Society of America, the American Fisheries Society and the Southwestern Association of Naturalists.  Dr. Merz has been honored with a variety of awards and has received research and restoration grants from multiple stakeholders for restoration related projects in California, Oregon and Washington for salmonid habitat restoration; salmonid management and reintroduction; monitoring of fish migration and movement; fish passage improvement; and assessment of invasive species interactions with native salmonid populations.

Dr. Rocko A. Brown

Dr. Rocko A. Brown

Dr. Rocko Brown is an expert design geomorphologist who uniquely balances applied and scientific aspects of geomorphology and engineering. He focuses on process-based assessment and restoration of fisheries resources through channel manipulation integrating geomorphic, hydraulic and ecological frameworks. He has extensive experience in hydraulic and sediment transport modeling and design for fish passage improvements, channel design, large wood and instream habitat structures, and bank stabilization.

Rocko has led the design of seasonal floodplain, spawning habitat, and fish passage projects in a diverse array of physical and regulatory settings. He has made contributions to spawning habitat rehabilitation efforts, including assessment, modeling, design and construction of projects on several of California’s most-important rivers. Dr. Brown has published heavily on evaluating the interactions of topography and flow hydrology for geomorphic processes needed for salmonids to complete their life cycle and how to design functional riverscapes that honor these linkages. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Temple University and Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California, Davis. He has been an instructor with NWETC since 2009.

What to Bring

Please bring a pen or pencil, and notepad if you would like to take notes (you may also choose to take notes in your book). Lunch will be on your own. In person courses will have drinks and snacks provided as current health recommendations allow.

Billing Information

In order to guarantee a space in a course, the tuition must be paid in full TWO WEEKS before the first day of the course by either check or credit card. State and government agencies paying with a purchase order are allowed payment under the two-week time frame if a copy of the purchase order is received by NWETC.

If You Need to Cancel


  • With 31 or more days notice, we will offer a 100% refund or credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With 30-8 days notice, we will offer a course credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With fewer than 8 days notice, there is no course credit available

*Please note that attendee replacement is welcome at any time

Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations:

To request disability accommodations, please contact us at or 425-270-3274 at least 30 days prior to the event.


  • From:

  • To:
  •   Live Remote Attendance Live Remote Attendance, WA TBD



*Reduced tuition available to employees of Native American tribes, nonprofits, and government agencies; students; and NAEP members.

If you have any trouble registering please call (425) 270-3274 ext 103
Please wait to receive a course confirmation email, roughly one month prior to the class, before making any travel arrangements. Please review what to bring!


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