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Glossary of Terms & Acronyms

Restoration Terminology*


An iterative decision–making process involving a cycle of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and, subsequently, reexamining and altering management decisions based on monitoring results. ​

Aggradation is a rise in grade or level of a stream–bed elevation through deposit of detritus, sediment. ​

Water within the alluvium, or loose rock, gravel, soil, and sediment surrounding a channel.  This groundwater is linked hydrologically with water in the channel and strongly influences the channel, its riparian vegetation, and its connection with the floodplain.​

channel that branches and departs from the main channel, sometimes running parallel for several kilometers before rejoining the main channel.​


Channel width between the tops of banks on either side of a stream; tops of banks are the points at which water overflows its channel at bankfull discharge. Contrast wetted width.​

Square feet of total base area of trees (usual at breast height) per unit area (typically acre or hectare).​

Characterizing existing biota, chemical or physical conditions for planning or future comparisons.  Compare status, trend, implementation, effectiveness, and validation monitoring.​

Entire land–drainage area of a river.  Also called watershed, drainage basin, or catchment.​

Sediment particles resting on the channel bottom that are pushed or rolled along by the flow of water.  Note that sediment can move between bed load and suspended load as the stream discharge changes.  Compare suspended load and wash load.​

Of, related to, or living in the soil–water interface of a lake or stream.​

Biochar is a charcoal-like substance that’s made by burning organic material from agricultural and forestry wastes (also called biomass) in a controlled process​ where air is restricted during burning.

Community of microorganisms attached to a solid surface.​

Vegetated channel commonly used to remove pollutants in storm water runoff.​

Biological activities, such as burrowing and feeding in, at, or near the sediment surface, that occur and cause the sediment to become resuspended and mixed.​

Trees uprooted and felled, or branches broken and felled by strong gusts of wind. Also called windthrow.​


Entire land–drainage area of a river.  Also called watershed, basin, or drainage basin.​

Straightening, narrowing, and deepening of a stream channel.  Channelization may be deliberate to improve navigation, move water faster, or prevent flooding of human infrastructure.  It often includes removal of debris and channel obstructions that may impede flow.​

Forest regeneration from vegetative sprouts from stumps, branches, or roots.​

For a species, part of its range that is typified by high and frequent use or that provides high–quality habitat for breeding, rearing, feeding, and other key functions necessary for survival.​

A transverse pipe or totally enclosed drain under a road or railway.  Typically used to convey stream flow under a road or other manmade construction.​

Profile of elevations perpendicular to the stream channel.​


​Mechanical site–preparation technique used to break up soil and plow existing vegetation into the soil.  It usually is performed by towing a disc (a trailer on wheels with numerous sharp rotating discs that cut into the soil) behind a tractor.​

Branch of a river or a stream that flows away from the main channel and does not rejoin it.  Also called distributary channel.​

Entire land–drainage area of a river.  Also called watershed, basin, or catchment.​


In restoration ecology, it refers to acquiring a portion of the rights to a land to allow for, or protect from, a specific use.  Technically defined as the nonpossessory interest granted in the lands of another, established to obtain certain limited rights granted in perpetuity or for set periods.  For example, development rights, but never the right to "quiet enjoyment."  Compare acquisition.​

Area determined by similar land–surface form, potential natural vegetation, land use, and soil; it may contain few or many geological districts.​

Dynamic and holistic system of all the living and dead organisms in an area and the physical and climatic features that are interrelated in the transfer of energy and material.​

Evaluating whether actions had the desired effects on physical processes, habitat, or biota.  Compare baseline, status, trend, implementation, and validation monitoring.​

To improve the quality of a habitat through direct manipulation.  It does not necessarily seek to restore processes or conditions to some predisturbed state. Some practitioners call this partial restoration.  Compare rehabilitation and restoration.​

Fencing an area to prevent (exclude) access of livestock or other ungulates.​


A flat depositional feature of a river valley adjoining the channel, the floodplain is formed by climate and hydrological conditions and is subject to periodic flooding.​


Wire rectangular or round basket placed in a stream channel and filled with gravel, gobbles, boulders or other hard material to serve as bank protection or to create a weir to trap gravel, create a pool, and improve fish habitat.​

A jetty extending from the bank into the channel designed to protect or stabilize a bank or trap gravel and sediment sands.​

A shallow stream section (habitat unit or mesohabitat) with even laminar flow and little or no turbulence or obstructions.​

First perennial vegetation that forms a lineal grouping of community types on or near the water′s edge, most often at or below the bankfull stage.​

Field measurement of specific attributes that have been predicted from models, maps, or remotely sensed data for the purpose of assessing accuracy and precision of predictions.​

Erosion of soil by formation or extension of channels (gullies) from surface runoff.​


Determined by survey of physical structures such as large woody debris, sediment types, number and depth of pools, bars, etc. Complexity is a measures of habitat quality and has been correlated with survival and recruitment of fish.​

Distinct geomorphically defined area within a stream reach, such as a pool, a riffle, a glide, etc. Sometimes called a mesohabitat.​

The saturated interstitial areas below the streambed and into the streambanks (or floodplain), where stream water and deep groundwater intermix and where a number of important chemical, hydrological, and biological processes take place.​


Evaluating whether the restoration project was constructed (implemented) as planned. Compare baseline, status, trend, effectiveness, and validation monitoring.​

An incised stream channel is one in which the stream bed is deepened to a point where flow is no longer connected the surrounding floodplain but cuts through the stream bed, resulting in further erosion and instability.  Incised channels are caused by erosion, usually resulting from an imbalance between sediment transport capacity and sediment supply to the stream. ​


Large piece of woody material such as a log or stump that intrudes into or lies entirely within a stream channel; LWD typically is defined as wood greater than 10 cm in diameter and 1 m in length, but other minimum size criteria also are used.​

An embankment or dike constructed of earth, rock or other material to prevent a river from overflowing.​

Using a principle similar to radar, the LIDAR instrument transmits light to a target and receives reflected or scattered light back for analysis. Change in the properties of light enable measurement of various properties of the target, such as distance, speed, rotation, or chemical composition and concentration.​

Factor that confines (limits) the growth of an ecosystem element.​


Principal stream or channel of a stream network.​

Action taken to alleviate or compensate for potentially adverse effects on an aquatic habitat that has been modified or lost by human activity.​

Systematically checking or scrutinizing something for the purpose of collecting specific categories of data, especially on a recurring basis.​


Addition of organic or inorganic compounds to a water body to increase background levels of nutrients (e.g., phosphorous, nitrogen).​


Uppermost layer of foliage that forms a forest canopy. Compare understory.​


Upper layers of bodies of water into which sunlight penetrates sufficiently to influence the growth of plants and animals.​


A geomorphically similar stream section or a section of stream as defined by two selected points.​

Returning an area to its previous habitat type but not necessarily fully restore all functions.​

A spawning nest constructed in the substrate of a lake or stream by a fish.​

To restore or improve some aspects or an ecosystem but not fully restore all components. A general restoration term that can include habitat improvement, enhancement, or reclamation. Some practitioners call this partial restoration. Compare enhancement and restoration.​

Gathering data from a remote station or platform, as in satellite or aerial photography.​

1. Return of an ecosystem to [various levels of] its predisturbed condition. Also called full restoration.

2. General term referring to various enhancement, improvement, and rehabilitation actions. ​

Shallow section of a river or stream, with moderate to rapid flow and with surface turbulence​

One of the first and smallest channels formed by surface runoff.​

The banks of a river or the terrestrial aquatic interface. That part of a terrestrial landscape that exerts a direct influence on stream channels or lake margins, and the water or aquatic ecosystems.​

The placement of rocks, boulders, or concrete into the stream channel to create diverse flow and velocities and create riffles or fast water habitats for fishes and other aquatic organisms.​

Road surface and fill, and its geometry. Road prism removal includes excavation of part or all of road fill to restore natural drainage patterns.​

​Rapid Riparian Revegetation


Surface erosion from water running off in sheets, distinct from channelized erosion in rills and gullies.​

A subsidiary or overflow channel branching from the primary stream channel, typically conveying a small fraction of the total stream flow.​

A low weir partially buried in the stream bottom designed to aggrade or maintain the channel level and improve fish habitat.​

In forestry or forest management, the care, cultivation, and harvest of trees. In restoration ecology, the term generally refers to planting, removing, or growing trees and other vegetation to restore certain forest characteristics.​

Gradual downslope movement of the soil mantle.​

A form of riparian replanting that involves both the vertical placement of live shoots or cuttings and the horizontal placement of larger cuttings or branches. Commonly used for establishing willows to stabilizing banks and soils.​

A method of classifying streams based on size and number of tributaries. Typically smallest streams are given smaller numbers. For example, a first–order stream would be the smallest detectable headwater stream, a second–order stream would be formed by the formation of two first–order streams, etc.​

Changes in species composition of plants and animals in an ecosystem with time, often in a predictable order. More specifically, the gradual and natural progression of physical and biological changes, especially in the trophic structure of an ecosystem, toward a climax condition or stage.​


Exposed former floodplain deposit that results when a stream begins downcutting into its floodplain. ​

Line defining the lowest (deepest) points along the length of a stream.​

Removal of trees or other vegetation to allow for increased growth of other trees or vegetation.​

Stream or river that flows into another stream or river.​


Shrubs and smaller trees between the ground cover and the forest canopy. Compare overstory.​


Number of life cycles repeated annually.​


Entire land–drainage area of a river. Also called a basin, drainage basin, or catchment.​

1. A low dam constructed in a stream to divert or retain water for various human uses.

2. A low dam or obstruction constructed of logs or rocks placed across a stream to create a pool or trap gravel and improve fish habitat.​

Width of the water surface within a channel. Contrast bankfull width.​

*Restoration Terminology from NOAA Fisheries.

Common OWEB Acronyms

Internal Acronyms

AGA Automated Grant Agreement

APPR Annual Performance Progress Report

ARB Agency Request Budget

CEP Conservation Effectiveness partnership

CREP Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

CWP Clean Water Partnership

EM Effectiveness Monitoring

FIP Focused Investment Program

GA Grant Agreement

GRB Governor Recommended Budget

IMW Intensively Monitored Watershed

GWEB Governor’s Watershed Enhancement Board (now OWEB)

KPM Key Performance Measure

LAB Legislatively Adopted Budget

OAHP Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program


OGMS OWEB Grant Management System

OWRI Oregon Watershed Restoration Inventory


PCR Project Completion Reporting

PISR Post Implementation Status Report

PM Program Manager or Project Manager

RPR Regional Program Representative

RRT Regional Review Team

SIA Strategic Implementation Area

SIP Special Investment Partnership

TA Technical Assistance

TRT Technical Review Team

Industry Acronyms

cfs cubic feet per second

Corps US Army Corps of Engineers

ESA Endangered Species Act

FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency

GIS Geographic Information System

HUC Hydrologic Unit Code

LWD Large Woody Debris

LWS Large Wood Structure

NPS Nonpoint Source

OPSW Oregon Plan for Salmon & Watersheds

TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load

Types of Partners and Grantees

BLM Bureau of Land Management

COLT Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts Colt

DEQ Department of Environmental Quality

DLCD Oregon Department of Land Conservation Development

DSL Department of State Lands

EPA Environmental Protection Agency

FSA Farm Service Agency (USDA)

NFWF National Fish & Wildlife Foundation

NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA)

NOAA National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

NOWC Network of Oregon Watershed Councils

NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA)

OACD Oregon Association of Conservation Districts

ODA Oregon Department of Agriculture


ODF Oregon Department of Forestry

ODFW Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

OSU Oregon State University

PCSRF Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund

SRFB Salmon Recovery Fund Board (Washington) "Surfboard"

SWCC Soil & Water Conservation Commission

SWCD Soil & Water Conservation District

TNC The Nature Conservancy

USFS US Forest Service

USFWS US Fish & Wildlife Service

USGS US Geological Survey

WC Watershed Council

WRD Water Resources Department (also OWRD)


Please direct questions or comments to Linda Repplinger, Electronic Publications Specialist, 971-719-3255.