Invited Speakers 2022

Looking forward to seeing you at our 2020 Symposium.

Symposium Tuesday February 4th - Thursday February 6th

Short Courses Monday February 3th

Field Trip Friday February 7th


The 2022 Symposium invited speakers and the topics to be addressed are as follows:

  • Janine Castro, Project Leader, US Fish and Wildlife Service: Back to the future: Restoration in Retrospect
  • Brian Mercier, Northwest Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs:  Tribal Leadership in Fish and Wildlife Management
Janine Castro


Back to the Future: Restoration in Retrospect
Janine Castro
Project Leader
US Fish and Wildlife Service

RRNW is 20 — and hindsight is 20/20! This retrospective will cover where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might be going with stream restoration in the Pacific Northwest.

When River Restoration Northwest convened for the first time over 20 years ago, most restoration projects were channel-centric and large wood focused. “Channel Reconstruction” projects were designed to maintain sediment transport through a comparatively stable, single-thread channel that connected to its floodplain during relatively infrequent flows. We thought about large wood in terms of pieces per mile and habitat units in terms of multiples of channel width. During the early years of RRNW, restoration work was longitudinal in nature and metrics tended to be in feet and miles.

Jump ahead 20 years and the river restoration world has laterally expanded into two dimensions. There is broad recognition by the scientific community that increased floodplain connectivity is correlated to increased habitat complexity through fully integrated wetland-floodplain-channel systems. “Floodplain Reconnection” projects are now more often designed to connect at very frequent flow events and inundate the floodplain for weeks or even months each year. While there may still be a main channel, there are often multiple, interconnected channels. We now think about large wood in terms of total wood loads across the floodplain. Restoration work is both longitudinal and lateral in nature and metrics are often reported in acres rather than feet.

That bring us back to the future. Where will we be 20 years from now? Will we be restoring river-wetland corridors in 3 dimensions, fully embracing the vertical components in restoration design? In the same way that Lidar opened our eyes to floodplain microtopography, perhaps ground-penetrating radar will help us more fully understand, and then restore, the river corridor that flows beneath our feet.


As the Project Leader at the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Janine provides leadership to a highly diverse technical staff that address a wide variety of issues, including: (1) fish passage and habitat restoration, (2) bull trout recovery and lamprey conservation, (3) marking and tagging of nearly 40 million hatchery fish annually, (4) mark-recapture studies of wild fish to determine occupancy, distribution, abundance, trends, and population growth rates, and (5) providing analytical support to project design, evaluation, and information management.

Janine provides national and international training on stream restoration, river science, and public speaking for scientists. She has worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service for 20 years and spent the preceding 10 years working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Janine is one of the five founding members of River Restoration Northwest, and is the Technical Director for the PSU River Restoration Professional Certificate Program.

Bryan Mercier


Tribal Leadership in Fish and Wildlife Management
Bryan Mercier
Northwest Regional Director
Bureau of Indian Affairs


Indigenous Tribes of the NW have been building capacity in Fish and Wildlife management for decades. Their capacity (i.e., staff and resources) now outpaces many state and local governments, placing them in a position to lead the region in efforts to combat climate change and restore fish and wildlife. How do NW Tribes’ unique political, legal and cultural attributes provide an opportunity for other practitioners to collaborate and make real progress in Fish and Wildlife.

Tribes have been contracting with the federal government for decades through “638 contracts”. The Indian Self-Determination and Education Act (PL 93-638) provided Tribe the ability to administer federal programs through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) initially, but the vehicle is available across the federal government and could be replicated with States.

In the NW, Tribes have led the country in the successful utilization of 638 contracts to administer programs ranging from Social Services to Fish and Wildlife from the BIA. However, while 638 contracts are available for other federal agencies, use outside of the BIA has been limited. This underutilization of 639 contracts is likely a missed opportunity that could stretch limited resources and leverage tribal expertise and capacity.

I’ll discuss this opportunity cost and engage in debate about the pros and cons of contracting with Tribes.


Bryan Mercier is a Native Oregonian in the truest sense of the term. As an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, he was born and raised in western Oregon. His academic background includes an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon (1997), a graduate certificate in Economics from the Universitaet Freiburg in Germany (2000), and a graduate degree in Human Rights and International Law from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain (2003).

Bryan has spent more than 15 years working in public service, including a stint on the staff of Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. His federal career started with the US Forest Service, followed by a few years as a program manager at the Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund. Most recently, Bryan served as the Executive Manager of Fish and Wildlife for Bonneville Power Administration’s Environment, Fish and Wildlife Program, which is the largest environmental mitigation program in the United States. He has served as NW Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs since October 2018.


Gary Parker


Bankfull Discharge and Bankfull Channel Characteristics of Alluvial Rivers: Can We Get Beyond the 1.5 Year Flood?
Gary Parker
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

It has long been known that alluvial rivers are the authors of their own geometry. In principle, water in the form of rainfall, a supply of sediment and vegetation should be sufficient ingredients for a channel to form on an initially featureless floodplain, and to acquire the standard features of hydraulic geometry. Available today are a wide range of empirical and theoretical techniques to estimate bankfull width, bankfull depth and slope as functions of bankfull discharge and parameters related to sediment. Yet bankfull discharge itself should not be a dependent variable. Rivers ought to choose their own bankfull discharge in the process of making their channels.
Bankfull discharge has been empirically related to a flood recurrence interval such as the 1.5 year flood. While such specifications are useful, they shed no light on the processes giving rise to bankfull characteristics. Here we investigate the morphodynamics of the problem in terms of floodplain building and floodplain lowering processes, as well as channel aggradation and degradation.
The morphology we consider is a single-channel meandering river. The river is subjected to a flow duration curve, characterizing the probability of exceedance of any given discharge. Relatively low flood flows encourage the removal of sediment from the floodplain as the channel migrates, rendering the channel shallower. Relatively high flood flows, on the other hand, deepen the channel through overbank deposition. Integrating over the flow duration curve allows determination of bankfull discharge itself, along with bankfull channel characteristics. Applications are presented for the Trinity River, Texas and the Minnesota River, Minnesota.


Gary Parker is a professor in the Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He holds a 75 percent appointment in the Depart­ment of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a 25 per­cent appointment in the Department of Geology, where he is the W.H. Johnson Professor of Geology.

Professor Parker received a B.S. from the Department of Mechanics and Materials Science of Johns Hopkins University (1971) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Civil Engineering of the Uni­versity of Minnesota (1974).  Before coming to the University of Illinois, he was an Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minne­sota.  Prof. Parker was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysi­cal Union in 2003 and received the G.K. Warren Award in Fluviatile Geomorphology in 2002.  He has received the Schoemaker Award twice and the Ippen Award from the International Association of Hydraulic Research, and the Einstein Award, Hilgard Prize and Stevens Award from the American Society of Civil Engi­neers.  In 1991 he also received the University of Minnesota In­stitute of Technology Outstand­ing Teacher Award.

Professor Parker teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in flu­id mechanics, river engineering, and sediment transport.  One of Dr. Parker’s research goals is to use the fundamental techniques of fluid mechanics and applied mathematics to treat interesting geomorphological problems.  Related special research includes mechanics of river meandering; sorting of mixed grain sediment by fluvial processes; bank erosion and protection using permeable dikes and vegetation; and reservoir sedimentation.  Development of a mechanistic understanding of the processes involved with sediment transport in rivers, and the morphologies they create, is of prime importance.  River meander migration research has led to the development of computer models that predict channel shift and can therefore be used in the design of floodplain structures such as bridges, intakes, etc.