cbec’s ebb & flow | 2020 year in review



Last year brought with it many challenges, but like our clients, colleagues, and friends, cbec is resilient. Alternative routines were adopted, social distancing became standard, and Zoom backgrounds were chosen with care. We can humbly say that we are weathering the pandemic well, and have been fortunate to grow our operations with the addition of new staff, and new offices in Atascadero and San Rafael. As we launch into a new year, we would like to take this opportunity to look back at notable highlights of 2020.

Last year alone saw construction implementation on five restoration and enhancement projects, some with over a decade of planning involved. It is a special kind of achievement to watch an effort so long in progress come to fruition. Read on to discover more about these, and current projects, and follow our social media profiles to get updates as they happen. Additionally, in response to the increasing frequency of forest fires in our watersheds and communities, we have expanded our services with Post-Fire Hydrology consulting. Please visit our new webpage for all the details on this exciting new service line.

Our management, operations, and technical staff would like to take this opportunity to assure you that our commitment to our clients, and the water resources industry, remains stronger than ever. Thank you for joining us for this edition of “ebb & flow.” We look forward to working with you in 2021 and beyond.

Dr. Chris Bowles, PE – Managing Director

The video above shows construction progress on the Lower Yuba River Hallwood Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project (as of December 2020). Note the perennial channel and alcoves that replaced deep ponds downstream, and dry gravel bars upstream. The Middle Training Wall separates the main channel on the right from the floodplain on the left. Phase 1 created and enhanced 89 acres of habitat for rearing juvenile salmonids, and involved removing 1,200,000 CY of sediment from the Middle Training Wall to facilitate connectivity. To understand how hydraulic mining during the California Gold Rush played a part in the need for this project, watch the Yuba Water Agency’s excellent video here. Then visit our project page to watch a timelapse of sediment removal operations.


2020 brought many new faces to the cbec team. One in particular is Greg Kamman. Greg is a professional geologist and certified hydrogeologist with over 30 years of technical and consulting experience in the fields of geology, hydrology, and hydrogeology. After 23 years of owning and operating Kamman Hydrology & Engineering, Inc., Greg is excited to contribute to a larger group of like-minded professionals dedicated to the responsible stewardship and enhancement of natural resources. We also welcomed three other talented individuals: Lily Tomkovic, Haley Tupen, and George Snyder. Visit their bios for more information.


Summer of 2020 brought many longstanding cbec projects to fruition, one of which is the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project. Three of five planned improvement sites were constructed last year, with the last two to be implemented in 2022. The Yolo Basin Foundation, the project owner, recently highlighted this project in their Flyway Nights series of educational seminars. Watch it here.


Every year, more and more unprecedented wildfires burn across the landscapes where we live, work, and recreate. The growing impacts of climate change, along with large populations living in the wildland-urban interface, make planning for and responding to wildfires a growing priority for resource agencies. This need led cbec to develop our latest service area; post-fire hydrologic hazard assessments. This is the culmination of a multi-year internal initiative to provide water resources engineering solutions to landscapes affected by wildfire. cbec has the technical expertise in hydrology, hydraulics, and geomorphology, to assess the physical impacts of fire on watershed hydrology, identify areas of high risk, and make recommendations for long term ecological rehabilitation in post-fire environments. Click through to learn more about our latest offering.


The Lower Yolo Restoration.Project is the largest restoration project to date in the Bypass to benefit native fish. 2020 saw the completion of this 2,149-acre tidal marsh restoration project, which has been under development for the past twelve years. Restoration features included construction of new tidal channels and deepening of existing canals, excavation of berm breaches, removal of a tide gate and other water control structures, and minor grading. The neighboring 1,278-acre property will remain an irrigated agricultural site and provide Swainson’s Hawk habitat. Upgrades there included the construction of a perimeter berm and access road, along with improved water control and delivery features. Learn more at our project page.


cbec is partnering with H.T. Harvey and Associates to provide hydrology, geomorphology, and restoration design services for a proposed public nature park on the Burlingame shore in the San Francisco Bay. The SPHERE Institute, the project’s proponent, sees Shoreline Park as a rare opportunity to provide Bay Area residents with access to open space and direct entry to the Bay, amidst commercial development and airport parking lots. Early concept designs feature much-needed space and amenities for a wide range of activities. The park will include three large lawns with a picnic area, educational kiosks designed to teach people of all ages about the marshland and the surrounding natural area, and resources for visitors to enjoy kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing. Learn more at the project’s website, shorelineparkburlingame.org.


2020 produced numerous noteworthy anniversaries at cbec. Thank you to the following staff for your years of exemplary work and dedication: Chris Bowles (13 years), Chris Campbell (12 years), Chris Hammersmark
(11 years), Sam Diaz (11 years), John Stofleth (11 years), Ben Taber (10 years), and April Sawyer (10 years).


With conferences going online last year, six cbec staff had the honor of presenting virtually at the Floodplain Management Association‘s 2020 meeting. This popular annual event brings together attendees from government, academia, private sector, and non-profits, to discuss the latest strategies, tools, and technologies in floodplain and flood risk management. Please see our website for this year’s presentations.

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Copyright © 2021 cbec eco engineering, All rights reserved.

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