Restoration Design
View projects in design and completed projects.

Balance Hydrologics provides a diverse set of clients restoration design services from development of conceptual design alternatives, to complete plans, specs and cost estimate packages. We typically support our designs with a strong field presence during construction often providing field engineering support and direction to operators and laborers. Our areas of expertise include channel and floodplain restoration, mitigation wetland creation, fish passage and habitat enhancement, channel bank repair, lagoon enhancement, and dam removal.


Balance Hydrologics has a unique expertise in the design and use of step-pools to stabilize and enhance function of steep stream reaches, and we are experienced in use of many bio-technical design approaches. We offer practical, field condition driven designs, as well as robust technical design analyses, when conditions demand in depth study. Our primary design goal for most projects is to develop features and forms which complement the landscape, and which are reflective of the dominant corridor processes.

Complete Projects:
  • San Pablo Creek Slope Stabilization and Floodplain Creation, San Pablo, California
  • Balance Hydrologics was retained by the City of San Pablo Public Works Department to prepare design plans to stabilize a failing streambank along an arterial road in San Pablo. Following the flood of December 31, 2005, the City received FEMA funding to repair the slope and protect the adjacent Road 20 from potential collapse. Balance worked with the City, the permitting agencies and FEMA to identify a design solution to both
  • Floodplain Restoration, Fourmile Creek, Klamath County, Klamath Falls, Oregon
  • Working with a private landowner, the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, and the local office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Balance Hydrologics led development of floodplain restoration design plans for several thousand feet of Fourmile creek located on the northwest side of Upper Klamath Lake. Years ago, Fourmile creek was straightened, leveed and moved from its historic alignment. The design intent of the project was to
  • Arastradero Gateway Creek Daylighting and Riparian Restoration Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics teamed with a major restoration ecology firm to develop creek daylighting and riparian restoration design plans for the City of Palo Alto Open Space Division. The project was funded by a grant from the California State Riparian & Riverine Restoration Program. The 13-acre project site is part of the Arastradero Preserve and included a culverted tributary of Arastradero Creek. The design goal of the project
  • Chocktoot Creek Re-Naturalization, The Nature Conservancy, Klamath and Lake Counties, Oregon
  • Working with a Klamath Falls civil design firm, Balance Hydrologics led the channel-stability, geomorphologic, and recharge/groundwater elements of re-naturalization plan development for the lower reaches of Chocktoot Creek, a seasonal tributary to the world-famous Sycan River marsh within the Upper Klamath Basin. Chocktoot Creek was diverted and realigned during the late 1930s and 1940s for range improvement. The project wa
  • Stevens Creek Blackberry Farm Stream Corridor Restoration, City of Cupertino Public Works Department, Santa Clara County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics cooperatively led the development of a stream corridor restoration plan for Stevens Creek at Blackberry Farm. The stream corridor designs were rooted within a set of robust fluvial geomorphic, hydrologic, sediment transport, and fishery habitat analyses, each of which were peer reviewed by scientists and engineers at the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The primary focus of the project was to replace fo
  • UC Davis Tahoe City Field Lab Stream and Wetland Restoration Design, Placer County, California
  • As part of the overall improvements underway to the UC Davis Tahoe City Field Station, Balance Hydrologics has led development of stream and wetland restoration plans in support of the field station mission of education and stewardship. UC Davis asked Balance to both restore and enhance the site’s hydrologic and ecologic functions, primarily within an existing spring-fed channel and adjoining wetland, which had earlier been
  • North Fork Sprague River Restoration, Ganong Ranch and Bailey Flat, Klamath County, Oregon
  • A key 1.3-mile reach of the North Fork Sprague River, where it emerges from the Fremont National Forest, was straightened and aligned in the 1960’s along one side of the canyon, held in place by riprapped levees. Private property owners and the USFWS retained Balance Hydrologics to re-naturalize the river corridor and enhance aquatic habitat for native redband and bull trout, as well as the Klamath large-scale sucker, all s
  • Stevens Creek Blackberry Farm Corridor Restoration
  • Balance Hydrologics cooperatively led the development of a stream corridor restoration plan for Stevens Creek at Blackberry Farm. The stream corridor designs were rooted within a set of robust fluvial geomorphic, hydrologic, sediment transport, and fishery habitat analyses, each of which were peer reviewed by scientists and engineers at the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The primary focus of the project was to replace fo
  • Sheehy Creek Restoration
  • Working with experienced local biologists, Balance developed a stream restoration plan for a one-mile reach of Sheehy Creek in Napa County, CA. Based on geomorphic analysis, the develop design called for removal of the upper portions of steep, incised stream banks to create broad floodplains on both sides of the creek, while leaving the central channel intact. Several years of post-project monitoring have confirmed that the
  • Coho Salmon High-Water Refuge and Rearing Habitat Enhancement Design and Implementation, San Vicente Creek, Santa Cruz County, California
  • County, California
    Balance Hydrologics partnered with NOAA Fisheries, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District, and the California Coastal Conservancy to develop design concepts to create new off-channel, low-velocity refugia and rearing habitat for coho salmon along lower San Vicente Creek, Santa Cruz County, California — designated critical habitat for the fe
  • Sheehy Creek Restoration, Napa County, California
  • Working with experienced local biologists, Balance developed a stream restoration plan for a one-mile reach of Sheehy Creek in Napa County, CA. Based on geomorphic analysis, the develop design called for removal of the upper portions of steep, incised stream banks to create broad floodplains on both sides of the creek, while leaving the central channel intact. Several years of post-project monitoring have confirmed that the
  • Bernal Creeks Restoration, City of Pleasanton, Alameda County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics led an interdisciplinary team that addressed a wide range of issues related to restoring and naturalizing flood control channels crossing the City of Pleasanton’s 680-acre Bernal Property. Balance staff prepared the initial channel restoration plan incorporating extensive on-site investigations, regional fluvial geomorphic relationships, data from Zone 7 Flood Control, and supplemental historical researc
  • Arana Gulch, Lower Services Road, Stream Crossing Rehabilitation, Santa Cruz County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics worked cooperatively with the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department and the Santa Cruz County RCD to develop design plans focused at rehabilitating a failing at-grade road crossing, as well as stabilizing a small tributary to the West Branch of Arana Gulch. The road crossing was designed to accommodate clear passage and associated loading from a single axle fire truck and was constructed with
  • Channel and Wetland Repair Design, Upper Collier Creek, City of Livermore, Alameda County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics was retained to assess existing hydrologic characteristics and develop repairs for two mitigation wetlands constructed in 1999 within Upper Collier Creek. Resource agencies had expressed concern that the project was not in compliance with its biological mitigation requirements. The upper site had aggraded due to sediment deposition, causing flows to bypass the channel except during high-flow events. Flow
  • Blue Trail Gully Complex Slope Stabilization, Arana Gulch Watershed, City of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics, Inc. was retained by the Arana Gulch Watershed Alliance and the Santa Cruz County RCD to develop construction plans for stabilization of the Blue Trail gully complex in the Arana Gulch watershed. The Blue Trail gully complex had over years contributed hundreds of yards of sediments to Arana Gulch and project proponents had the clear goal to stem further erosion as eroded sediment ultimately is deposited i
  • Arastradero Preserve
  • Balance Hydrologics teamed with a major restoration ecology firm to develop creek daylighting and riparian restoration design plans for the City of Palo Alto Open Space Division. The project was funded by a grant from the California State Riparian & Riverine Restoration Program. The 13-acre project site is part of the Arastradero Preserve and included a culverted tributary of Arastradero Creek. The design goal of the project
  • Floodplain and Off-channel Habitat Enhancement Design, Lagun
  • Working with California State Parks, NOAA Fisheries, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District, and the California Coastal Conservancy, Balance Hydrologics led development of design documents to provide for an enhanced floodplain and associated off-channel habitat elements along the near-tidal reach of Laguna Creek. The design process occurred through consensus building w
  • Five Mile Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Diversion Dam Removal 1, near Bly, Klamath County, Oregon
  • Balance Hydrologics worked cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Black Drake Ranch to take a flashboard diversion dam off-line along the lower reaches of Five Mile Creek and replace it with a newly constructed channel. The project is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Restoration program. The primary goals of the project were to improve fish passage and rearing conditions for redb - Link
  • Refugio Creek
  • Balance Hydrologics developed design level channel and floodplain geometry for this major Brownfields restoration project involving over 4000 linear feet of Refugio Creek in the City of Hercules. In addition, Balance was responsible for hydraulic modeling of the restored floodplain as well as providing design support for the channel grading plans. Coordination of floodplain grading with the project biologist was particularly
  • Wrigley Creek Channel Corridor and Bay-Fringe Wetland Enhancement, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Milpitas, Santa Clara County, California
  • Working with a team of restoration professionals, Balance Hydrologics led the planning and development of enhancement plans for the middle reaches of Wrigley Creek as compensatory mitigation for the Freight-Railroad Relocation project associated with BART extension to Silicon Valley. Building on our experience with assessing and developing innovative approaches to lessen the impacts of urbanization on South Bay channels, we h
  • Off-Channel Habitat Enhancement and Bank-Protection Design and Implementation, San Vicente Creek, Santa Cruz County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics worked cooperatively with NOAA Fisheries, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Cruz County RCD, the California Coastal Conservancy and local fisheries biologists to enhance an existing off-channel habitat feature at a site on lower San Vicente Creek, designated critical habitat for federally-listed coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). The project was conceived after coho and steelhead were
  • Five Mile Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Diversion Dam Removal 2, near Bly, Klamath County, Oregon
  • Balance Hydrologics worked cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Black Drake Ranch in preparing design-build drawings to remove of an irrigation flashboard diversion dam, and construct log and boulder step-pools in its place. The project is located along the lower reaches of Five Mile Creek and is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Restoration program. The primary goals of the pr
  • Dublin Ranch
  • Balance Hydrologics teamed with a major restoration ecology firm to design, relocate, and enhance two small perennial channels within the Dublin Ranch residential project in Alameda County, CA. The project encompassed design of close to 6,000 feet of stream and associated corridors. Through geomorphic analysis, hydraulic modeling, and the application of regional hydraulic geometry relationships tailored to the constraints of
  • Tucker Road Ford Removal and Salmonid Fish Passage Enhancement, West Branch Soquel Creek, Santa Cruz County, California
  • Working with a Santa Cruz civil design firm, Balance Hydrologics co-planned and designed for the removal of the Tucker Ford road crossing on the West Branch of Soquel Creek, Santa Cruz County, California. The primary focus of the project was to enhance salmonid passage conditions at the Ford, and provide an alternate means of creek crossing for local residents. Balance Hydrologics served as the design fluvial geomorphologist
  • Dublin Ranch Phase II Western and Eastern On-site Channel Creation, Dublin, Alameda County, California
  • Balance Hydrologics teamed with a major restoration ecology firm to design, relocate, and enhance two small perennial channels within the Dublin Ranch residential project in Alameda County, CA. The project encompassed design of close to 6,000 feet of stream and associated corridors. Through geomorphic analysis, hydraulic modeling, and the application of regional hydraulic geometry relationships tailored to the constraints of
  • Stream Bank Stabilization and Stream Enhancement, San Pablo Creek, Orinda, California
  • Balance Hydrologics was retained by a private landowner along San Pablo Creek in Orinda, California to develop bank stabilization and creek enhancement plans to stem further bank erosion and improve overall conditions of San Pablo Creek through the owner’s property. Balance worked with the permitting agencies to build consensus towards an appropriate design approach meeting the diverse goals of the project. The design appr
  • North Fork Sprague River, Bank Stability-Habitat Enhancement, Ganong Ranch, Klamath County, Oregon
  • Balance Hydrologics worked cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several landowners in upper North Fork Sprague River watershed to prepare design-build drawings to repair and stabilize 3 severely eroding meander bends, while providing the structure and cover to improve rearing habitat conditions. The project is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Restoration program. We utilized bioen
  • Refugio Creek Channel Restoration, City of Hercules, Contra Costa, California
  • Balance Hydrologics developed design level channel and floodplain geometry for this major Brownfields restoration project involving over 4000 linear feet of Refugio Creek in the City of Hercules. In addition, Balance was responsible for hydraulic modeling of the restored floodplain as well as providing design support for the channel grading plans. Coordination of floodplain grading with the project biologist was particularly

    Selected Project Summaries
    North Fork Sprague River Restoration, Ganong Ranch and Bailey Flat, Klamath County, Oregon
    ,
    Blue Trail Gully Complex Slope Stabilization, Arana Gulch Watershed, City of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California
    ,
    Off-Channel Habitat Enhancement and Bank-Protection Design and Implementation, San Vicente Creek, Santa Cruz County, California
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Arana Gulch, Lower Services Road, Stream Crossing Rehabilitation, Santa Cruz County, California
    ,
    Refugio Creek Channel Restoration, City of Hercules, Contra Costa, California
    ,
    Stream Bank Stabilization and Stream Enhancement, San Pablo Creek, Orinda, California
    ,
    Dublin Ranch
    Channel Design and Corridor Creation
    City of Dublin, CA
    (pdf)
    Arastradero Preserve
    Channel Daylighting and Corridor Creation
    City of Palo Alto, CA
    Wrigley Creek Channel Corridor and Bay-Fringe Wetland Enhancement, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Milpitas, Santa Clara County, California
    Santa Clara, CA
    Channel and Wetland Repair Design, Upper Collier Creek, City of Livermore, Alameda County, California
    ,
    Chocktoot Creek Re-Naturalization, The Nature Conservancy, Klamath and Lake Counties, Oregon
    ,
    Five Mile Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Diversion Dam Removal 2, near Bly, Klamath County, Oregon
    ,
    North Fork Sprague River, Bank Stability-Habitat Enhancement, Ganong Ranch, Klamath County, Oregon
    ,
    Sheehy Creek Restoration, Napa County, California
    Napa, CA
    Stevens Creek Blackberry Farm Corridor Restoration
    Channel and Floodplain Enhancement
    City of Cupertino, CA
    (pdf)
    Arastradero Gateway Creek Daylighting and Riparian Restoration Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California
    ,
    Bernal Creeks Restoration, City of Pleasanton, Alameda County, California
    ,
    Tucker Road Ford Removal and Salmonid Fish Passage Enhancement, West Branch Soquel Creek, Santa Cruz County, California
    ,
    Stevens Creek Blackberry Farm Stream Corridor Restoration, City of Cupertino Public Works Department, Santa Clara County, California
    Santa Clara, CA
    Five Mile Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Diversion Dam Removal 1, near Bly, Klamath County, Oregon
    ,
    UC Davis Tahoe City Field Lab Stream and Wetland Restoration Design, Placer County, California
    ,
    Coho Salmon High-Water Refuge and Rearing Habitat Enhancement Design and Implementation, San Vicente Creek, Santa Cruz County, California
    ,
    Sheehy Creek Restoration
    Stream restoration and corridor enhancement
    Napa, CA
    (pdf)
    Refugio Creek
    Channel and Floodplain Enhancement
    City of Hercules, CA
    (pdf)
    San Pablo Creek Slope Stabilization and Floodplain Creation, San Pablo, California
    Contra Costa, CA
    Floodplain and Off-channel Habitat Enhancement Design, Lagun
    ,
    Floodplain Restoration, Fourmile Creek, Klamath County, Klamath Falls, Oregon
    ,
    Dublin Ranch Phase II Western and Eastern On-site Channel Creation, Dublin, Alameda County, California
    ,