2024 Track 2 Day 2: Villard


Resilience, Adaption to Climate Change, and Natural Channel Design: Moving from Form-Based Design to Function-Based Design


Currently much of our focus in watershed management is on adaption to climate change. In our toolbox of watershed management techniques in “natural channel design” over the last 20 years, natural channel design has moved from mimicking channel form to working towards the maintenance and enhancement of channel function.

In urbanized landscapes, channel design has needed to account for changes in hydrology and sediment supply. At a local level, urbanization can have more profound impacts on hydrology and sediment supply than anticipated from climate change. As such, many of the tools we require from a design perspective to address climate change may already be available.

This talk will focus on function-based components to channel design that facilitate addressing the potential impact of climate change, not just on the watercourse itself but also providing greater resilience to the watershed itself.

This adjustment in focus transitions us from simple form-based design to a functional based design. A number of design examples are presented that highlight the function-based approach to design.


Paul Villard

Paul Villard, Geo Morphix Ltd.​

Paul Villard (Ph.D., P.Geo., CAN-CISEC, EP, CERP), Fluvial Geomorphologist, has conducted geomorphology research in fluvial, coastal, and estuarine systems for over 25 years. His research has included sediment transport, channel evolution, hydrodynamics, field measurement techniques, urban impacts on rivers, and the evolution of restored rivers.

For the last 16 years he has applied his knowledge to hundreds of projects throughout Ontario. He has also been involved in projects in Manitoba, California, and the northeastern United States.

Projects include sediment transport studies, geomorphic assessments, stream and shoreline restoration, erosion assessments for both stormwater management and dewatering projects, hazard assessments, and site remediation.

GEO Morphix is actively working on obtaining a Certificate of Recognition (COR), a voluntary national audit standard, which is used by workplaces to develop and maintain a health and safety management system. Workplaces participating in the program are required to demonstrate, through a review of documentation, interviews of employees, and worksite observations, that they meet or exceed the audit requirements.