Opening Keynote: Urban Streams: Turning Liabilities into Assets

Greg Jennings, Ph.D., PE


Urban streams are often impaired due to historic channelization or piping, lack of floodplain connection, riparian buffer deficiencies, and watershed hydrology changes related to stormwater runoff. Many urban streams have been hardened to prevent erosion or are actively eroding due to hydraulic forces. These drainage networks are often considered liabilities because of threats to infrastructure and public safety. This presentation will review case studies of turning urban stream liabilities into green infrastructure community assets using a combination of engineering and management techniques. Participants will learn about planning and implementation approaches for restoring natural urban stream ecosystems to enhance water quality, safety, and quality of life. Lessons learned will focus on developing realistic objectives and expectations, designing for optimal ecological health, planning for adaptive management, and nurturing community buy-in. Participants should plan to ask questions and share their experiences with urban stream restoration.

Presented by Greg Jennings, Ph.D., PE

Jennings Environmental

Dr. Jennings is a professional engineer with over 30 years of experience in water resources engineering, ecosystem restoration, and watershed management. He is Professor Emeritus of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University after serving on the faculty for 23 years. At NCSU, he taught courses and workshops on watershed hydrology, stream assessment and restoration, ecological engineering, erosion and sedimentation control, and stormwater management. Dr. Jennings has published more than 200 technical papers on environmental restoration and provided technical support and training to government agencies, non-profit organizations, and landowners on watershed management and stream restoration.

As founding principal of Jennings Environmental LLC, Dr. Jennings provides consulting services on ecosystem restoration planning, design, implementation, and evaluation. Through partnerships with many businesses, agencies, mitigation banks, Universities, and watershed groups, he has provided leadership and technical support for restoration implementation and evaluation of more than 250 watershed projects. Consulting services include feasibility studies, watershed master planning, grant-writing, stakeholder engagement and education, design optimization, environmental permitting, construction administration, vegetation establishment, adaptive management, and post-implementation monitoring. Dr. Jennings has taught more than 420 professional development workshops on stream assessment, ecosystem restoration planning, natural channel design, watershed management, restoration construction practices, and monitoring.