Regenerative Riverscape Agroforestry

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This ongoing effort is currently a collaboration between NOAA Restoration Center, Snohomish Conservation District, Agroforestry Northwest, and Tulalip Tribes and other partners. "Regenerative riverscape agroforestry" is the science and craft of producing complex native vegetation that restores biodiversity and ecosystem functions, while generating a useful harvest for communities and households. This involves the application of agroforestry principles to the restoration of Riparian Buffer Functions. It aims to honor various kinds of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and to develop and test new strategies for creating cultural relationships to place that result in complex and biodiverse vegetation that is to some degree both useful and self-sustaining. It embraces human communities as part of Vegetation Processes, both as a potentially beneficial landscape disturbance, and through intentional propagation. These efforts require cultural sophistication, discipline, and learning. Our goal is to create opportunities for local communities to be proactive and empowered in the restoration and tending vegetation in Riverscapes to recover Salmon, restore Water Quality, increase Groundwater Recharge, Sequester Carbon, and increase Local Resilience under Climate Change.

The project is young and experimental and incorporates several elements including Spring Design Charrettes and coordination with Biocultural Restoration Field Stations.

Spring Design Charrettes

Over the course of the year we identify potential sites for project implementation. In spring, after the winter planting season is complete, we host design events where we provide site information and develop stewardship plans at new sites using a shared Design Toolkit.

June 23, 2023 - Skykomish Field Station Charrette

The Design Toolkit

A core output of this effort is the development of standard methods for assessment, design, and evaluation of restoration sites, to support experimentation, learning, and improvement, using the Salish Sea Restoration Wiki. This development of pages and documents within the wiki is referred to as the Design Toolkit.

Biocultural Restoration Field Stations

Field stations are a strategy for creating a free and convivial learning environment in the field where people can gather, study, and tend native riverscape agroforestry systems. Field stations are being designed as a replicable cultural technology, so that field stations engender more field stations. Temporary encampment on restoration sites is an intrinsic part of the proposed system, so that people have opportunities for protracted observation, work and learning. Field stations aim to be a coherent and replicable social technology through development of The Ecosystem Guild as a cross-institutional cultural tool.

Operating Environment Improvement

Riverscape Agroforestry works in landscapes with complex Regulation and Mitigation Systems and funded by complex Planning and Funding Systems. Development of Riverscape Agroforestry requires the improvement of the collective performance of these authorities to create a coherent operating environment that encourages and empowers responsible stewards. This improvement depends on feedback loops, where local teams can influence the operations of state and federal programs. This concept developed through the Continuous Improvement effort, and in the development of the Align - Grant Coordination Workgroup

Advisory Groups

The effort is in the process of developing advisory groups so that these methods integrate various communities and authorities to support efficient and effective implementation.

  • Design Advisory Group - the design group develops standard assessment methods and develops designs, thereby building shared design resources. This group is currently ad hoc, and built around the annual design charrettes.
  • Policy Advisory Group - the policy group considers the findings of the design group, and develops policy strategies that strengthen desirable implementation. The policy group is also ad hoc and being developed through a series of informational interviews.

Related Wiki Pages

  • Climate Change and Introduced Species are anticipated to modify vegetation composition and increasing disruption of native vegetation processes and structures.
  • Syntropic Agroforestry provides a model for intensive tropical restoration that could be applied to the Salish Sea landscape.
  • The Working Buffer Pilot Project attempted to describe strategies for management of land near water that more holistically addresses the range of functions that these lands can provide.
  • Vegetation and Revegetation is a master topic page that describes design resources available on the wiki.
  • Riparian Buffer Function summarizes various regional works on defining buffer functions


The following sites are being supported by this effort: