British Columbia Institute of

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RENR 8201 - Terrain and Stream Channel Assessment for Ecological Restoration

Renewable Resources Part-time Studies Course

School of Construction and the Environment

BCIT is planning for a substantial return to on-campus activity for the fall 2021 term as informed by BC Public Health Officer guidelines. Refer to each course listing for details.

Course Details

This course provides an outline of the physical processes that control how watersheds function; it provides the necessary geophysical link with biology required to successfully plan, undertake and complete ecological restoration. Both terrestrial and fluvial processes are considered. Because these processes require understanding of general geoscience principals, this course includes selected basic introduction to earth science concepts. The first section of the course covers general earth science principals leading into terrain assessment, including a wide range of terrain attributes, with mapping and related interpretations such as landslide and erosion hazards from the point of view of the map user and according to current provincial (British Columbia) standards. Topics covered include an overview of watershed assessment approaches, morphetmetry, hydrogeological concepts, surficial materials and landforms, principles of soil physical behaviour (e.g., drainage and strength), terrain map symbols, terrain survey intensity levels, engineering characteristics of surficial materials (soils), landslide and other slope processes, and the reliability and limitations of terrain and slope stability mapping. The second section, dealing with fluvial processes, covers applicable provincial and federal legislation as well as collection and interpretation of stream channel data. Other topics will include: the provincial Channel Assessment Procedure and the effects of land use on stream channel, gully and alluvial fan morphology, and channel restoration strategies.


EENG 7217



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Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand basic geoscience principals, as they apply to ecological restoration.
  • Understand the factors that control watershed diversity and the biophysical processes that must be considered in ecological restoration activities.
  • Identify watershed landforms that relate to restoration planning and effectiveness.
  • Understand terrain maps, terrain stability maps, and other interpretive maps, and be aware of how these maps should and should not be used in a restoration context.
  • Interpret terrain map symbols with the aid of a map legend (BC Terrain Classification System).
  • Conceptualize the physical characteristics of the common surficial materials and demonstrate how these relate to the material’s original mode of deposition.
  • Assess how surficial material characteristics and properties are related to landforms and their significance with regard to land use activities.
  • Recognize the common geomorphic processes (e.g., debris flows, snow avalanches) related to different watersheds, and be aware of the potential effects of these processes on land use and the potential influence of land use on these processes.
  • Classify the different types of geomorphic processes and describe the chief controls on slope stability.
  • Outline simple interpretations for geological hazards.
  • Evaluate how terrain information can be used to make decisions such as road and cutblock location.
  • Interpret air photos under a stereoscope and recognize features shown on a terrain map of the same area.
  • Outline the general stream channel morphologies and understand the importance of watershed characteristics in controlling morphologies.
  • Summarize the stream channel inventory procedure.
  • Identify and interpret the various mapping conventions for stream channel characteristics.
  • Compare the various types of stream channel restoration strategies that are available and evaluate their relative effectiveness in a watershed context.
  • Develop prescriptive actions for the restoration of forestry harvested and urban disturbed watercourses.
  • Apply the Stream Channel Assessment Procedure to select examples on natural watercourses.

Effective as of Winter 2013

Related Programs

RENR 8201 is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Construction and the Environment

  1. Ecological Restoration
    Full-time/Part-time   Bachelor of Science


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