Virtual Courses

FEATURE BOX - 15 WORDS (exactly)

Virtual sediment dynamics course this Fall 2020 you can apply toward PSU's Advanced River Restoration certificate.

Coming in the Spring of 2023

The Big Picture: a quick-start lesson on using free, publicly available remote sensing tools to monitor riparian changes over space and time

Instructor: Emily Fairfax

Material to be covered: The main objective of this short course is to develop the skills and knowledge needed to undertake simple remote sensing analyses of any riparian zones. In order to practice using remote sensing tools, we will work through case studies that focus on identifying and monitoring the impacts of beaver activity within riparian zones in the western US.

Description: Satellites beam down enormous volumes of geospatial environmental data every single day, and they’ve been doing it for decades. These data are an incredible resource, but it can be challenging to figure out how to get started using it. This workshop will guide participants through the process of finding and analyzing several types of publicly available remote sensing data, and then explore how that data can be used to monitor ecohydrologic changes in riparian corridors over space and time. After learning the basics of riparian remote sensing, we will practice using publicly available remote sensing tools in a case study of how beaver activity affected the climate resilience of riparian zones in several western US locations. At the end of the workshop, participants will have a foundation of knowledge and skills that support using remote sensing in their own projects and analyses. We will cover:

General Skills/Content

  • Where to find publicly available, useful remote sensing data
  • How to access and/or download that data
  • Best practices for identifying and quantifying changes in vegetation health, hydrology, etc. over time
  • Quick basic statistics calculations for exploring the data and finding meaning

Specialized Skills/Content

  • How to identify beaver dams, lodges, and canals in aerial and satellite imagery
  • How to determine if a beaver complex is providing drought or fire refugia

Instructor bio:

Emily Fairfax is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management at California State University Channel Islands. Dr. Fairfax double majored in Chemistry and Physics as an undergraduate at Carleton College, then went on to earn a PhD in Geological Sciences with an emphasis in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder. She uses a combination of remote sensing, modeling, and field work to understand how beaver ecosystem engineering can create drought and fire-resistant patches in the landscape under a changing climate.  Her research has been featured internationally in National Geographic, the New York Times, the LA Times, BBC, Vox, and others. When Dr. Fairfax says she can talk about beavers all day, she’s not kidding.


Please contact our Short Course coordinator Mark Wilcox at for questions about the courses.



Courses can be used towards completion of the Advanced River Restoration certificate through the PSU EPP program if you register through PSU.

Streambank Soil Bioengineering

Schedule: Nine weekly 1-1.5 hour sessions via Zoom from Wednesday, October 6th to December 8th.  There will be no session during the week of Thanksgiving.  Two additional sessions will be pre-recorded and provided to participants for viewing on their own.

Time: 2pm each Wednesday

Primary Instructor: J. Chris Hoag, Riparian Ecologist, Hoag Riparian & Wetland Restoration LLC

Course fee: Registration Fee: $275, Alaska Residents $75 (non refundable)

Description: Join us for an exciting virtual short course focused on all things soil bioengineering!  This course will have something to offer to everyone involved in planning and implementing streambank rehabilitation and stabilization.  Early sessions will provide foundational information about bioengineering and its general application, an overview of riparian plants, and insights into how stream function influences the riverine landscape, including plants and soils.  Later sessions will go in-depth on specific bioengineering treatments and planning considerations.

Course Topics and Schedule

  • Oct 6         Principles of Streambank Soil Bioengoineering
  • Oct 13       Bioengineering and fluvial geomorphology with guest lecturer Janine Castro
  • Oct20        General Concepts for Understanding Riparian Plant Communities
  • Oct 27       Herbaceous and woody riparian plant propagation
  • Nov 3        Toe Zone Bioengineering Treatments
  • Nov 10      Bank Zone Bioengineering Treatments
  • Nov 17      Overbank Zone Bioengineering Treatments
  • Nov 24      Break
  • Dec 1        New and Novel Treatments and Rock
  • Dec 8        Keys to Successful Streambank Soil Bioengineering
  • Dec 15      Case Studies


  • Developing and Implementing a Planting Plan
  • Streambank Soil Bioengineering Vegetative Design Considerations

J. Chris Hoag

Chris has been working on riparian and wetland systems for over 40 years.  He is the author of over 120 technical papers on applied planting techniques for riparian and wetland ecosystems.  He has been working with Streambank Soil Bioengineering techniques for 37 years and he has developed 2 practical field manuals on Bioengineering and over 100 papers describing these techniques, how to install them, materials needed, management after installation, and what zones riparian plants go in. Chris was formerly the project leader of the Interagency Riparian/Wetland Plant Development Project, USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Aberdeen, Idaho.  He retired at the end of 2009 and opened up a small consulting business. He has worked, taught, and consulted all over the US, Canada, Mexico, and made two trips to Afghanistan to provide technical assistance to the Afghan Ministry of Forestry and Range.

Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District Support

Alaska residents have the opportunity to register at a reduced rate due to funds available via the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District (KSWCD).  Training and continuing education opportunities specific to habitat restoration, rehabilitation, and management have, at times, been limited in Alaska, and often out-of-state travel for training and education is cost-prohibitive.  The KSWCD, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has an interest in developing and bringing quality opportunities to Alaskan professionals and is excited to partner with the amazing network and group of professionals comprising RRNW.

We are excited to partner with KSWCD to support training for Alaska residents.



Schedule: This 24 contact-hour short course will delivered over Zoom in the form of six 4-hour case study sessions: May 17th, 19th, 21st, 24th, 26th, and 28th.

Time: 8:30am to 12:30pm PST

Instructors include: USA - Chris Jordan, Alexa Whipple, Emily Fairfax, Joe Wheaton, Mark Beardsley, Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, and Kelley Jorgensen, and UK - Chryssa Brown, Ben Eardley, Alan Puttock, Colin Thorne, Roger Auster, and Róisín Campbell-Palmer

Course fee: $750

Description: Students of this virtual short course will learn how to partner with beaver to achieve river restoration goals from leading academics and experts working on ground around the United States and United Kingdom. Potential course content (subject to change):

  1. Beaver natural history including Understanding beaver populations (North American and Eurasian beaver).
  2. Beaver in the river environment.
  3. People and beaver (Eurasia and North America).
  4. Studying and Learning from beaver.
  5. Cultural and social contexts: Beavers as commoners and recognizing the dignity of rivers.
  6.  Beaver relocation, recolonization and re-introduction (US and UK).
  7. Beaver and resilience (floods, droughts, wildfires, etc.).
  8. Beaver and salmonids, biodiversity, river functions and ecosystem services.
  9. Promoting Beaver  (including BDAs, but much more) 
  10. Beaver as catalysts for sustainable process-based river restoration.
  11. Beaver case studies.

Format:  Most sessions will include two modules with each module corresponding to one of the above topics. The default format for each module will be 40 minutes of presentations by the lead and associate instructors, supplemented by time for exercises (whole class or break-out groups) and then an open forum for discussion. The final session will consist of instructors and students presenting and discussing case studies consist with the theme of the course.

Two-Part Partnering with Beaver Course*

This class is Part 1 of the training and it is being taught in a virtual format this spring. There will be a follow-up field course that will be taught through PSU in the fall that registrants will need to sign up for separatly.

Part 2: EPP 726 Partnering with Beaver Field course (Scheduled for Fall 2021)
*Both Parts must be completed to count towards earning the Advance Restoration Certificate


Click here to register for the course through RRNW


Click on the link below to register through the PSU Environmental Professionals Program for credit towards the Advanced River Restoration certificate:

Click here to register for the course through PSU