Natural Channel Design, Inc. (NCD) is a civil engineering / environmental engineering consulting firm with an interdisciplinary team of natural resource specialists providing services in conservation engineering, restoration ecology, natural resource planning and river engineering. NCD specializes in research, assessment, and design of natural resource planning efforts. NCD has been operating for over 16 years and has designed, managed, helped permit, and supervised construction of numerous riparian and aquatic restoration projects throughout the southwest. NCD has extensive experience in watershed assessment, geomorphology, hydrology, hydraulics, wetland and riparian ecology, wildlife biology, vegetation, bioengineering, drainage, erosion control, irrigation, wetland delineation, stream bank stabilization, GIS and spatial modeling, and has applied that expertise to community planning, design and permitting of projects for federal and state agencies, tribal entities, municipalities, and private owners. The goal of our research, education and design services is to improve the health, resilience and ecosystem function of our aquatic and riparian resources.
Philosophy of Firm
Our work utilizes a combination of stream assessments and geomorphic evaluations supplemented by analytic assessments. We also consider how society and the natural processes of rivers can coincide. Stream channel assessment requires three distinct steps: characterization of existing conditions, identification of the potential, or reference condition, for the system, and finally comparing the existing condition against the potential of the system to identify stream needs and design criteria. Once these parameters are established, an analytical assessment of critical velocities, shear stresses, and other physical processes are incorporated to complete the design to meet project objectives.
Stream channels are created and maintained by the processes of their watersheds. In simplistic terms, their primary functions are to convey flood flows, transport sediment, and dissipate energy. The inherent stability of any natural channel is dependent on an appropriate dimension, pattern, and profile of the bankfull channel and associated floodplain and terraces. Closely matching the central tendencies of the natural channel in both form and process results in a design that works with the existing stream processes rather than against it reducing instability and maintenance cost. We have successfully extended these principles to a range of projects including habitat enhancement, bank stabilization, transportation infrastructure, drainage design, cultural resource protection, fish passage, and watershed planning efforts in both urban and rural environments. We have pioneered ways to safely and effectively integrate river community needs.