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Elijah Portugal

After leaving the FHC in March of 2016, Elijah Portugal went to work for the Natural Resources Services Division of Redwood Community Action Agency, a non-profit organization based in Northern California nearby Elijah’s hometown of Arcata, CA. He is a Projects Coordinator/Fluvial Geomorphologist working on a variety of process-based river and estuarine restoration projects primarily related to increasing the quality and quantity of salmonid habitat and water quality in the redwood region of coastal Northern California. In his current capacity, he is involved in all phases of restoration including; project development, planning, design, implementation and monitoring. He can be reached at


  • 2008 BS. Fisheries Biology (Magna cum laude) Department of Fisheries Biology Humboldt State University, Arcata Ca.
  • 2014 MS. Geomorphology and Earth Surface Processes, Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, Logan UT. 


  • Broadly interested in how the natural and anthropogenic geomorphic history of a watershed influences modern sediment and hydrologic dynamics.
  • Specifically interested in the role beaver have played historically and currently in stream ecosystems and how to harness their role of ecosystem engineers in a restoration context.
  • Current research focuses on applying the River Styles geomorphic classification system in the Tucannon watershed, WA, and Pine Creek watershed, OR.
  • Aiding in the development of a Stream Restoration Design Manual for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).
  • Applied beaver assisted restoration projects in OR, WA, and UT.


Elijah Portugal, is a Fluvial Geomorphologist with the Fluvial Habitat Center (FHC), Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University in Logan, UT. His background is in Fisheries Biology and stream habitat classifications and assessments but during the course of his Master's research his focus has broadened to understanding the role of long-term, watershed-wide geomorphic processes on stream habitat. Currently he is employed with the FHC to conduct geomorphic and hydrologic analysis and plan and implement beaver-assisted stream restoration projects in watersheds throughout the West.   


  • River Styles classification Tucannon River Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW)
  • Beaver-assisted pilot restoration project, Pine Creek, John Day Watershed, OR
  • Development of Stream Restoration Design Manual, UDWR
  • Implementation of beaver-assisted restoration project, Raft River, UT
  • Implementation of the Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) in the John Day Watershed, OR

Scholarly Contributions

Technical Reports

Peer Reviewed Publications 

  • Portugal, E., Bangen, S., Wheaton, J.M., Bouwes, N., Faux, N.,, 2012. (in revision) The Critical Importance of Using Breaklines in Digital Elevation Models of Rivers and Streams. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
  • Portugal, E., Belmont P., Bouwes N., Rittenour T., (in preparation) Spatial and Temporal Variability in Millennial-Scale Erosion Rates within the Columbia River Basin and the Implications for Aquatic Habitat. For submission to Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

Conference Papers, Presentations & Posters

  • Poster: Portugal, E., Hough-Snee, N., Sorenson, K., Karoglanian, A., Wheaton J.M., Bouwes, N. 2014. Partnering with Beaver in River Restoration: Case Studies from Oregon and Utah. Restoring The West Conference, October 21-22, 2014, Logan, UT
  • Portugal, E., Belmont, P., Bouwes, N., Rittenour, T. 2013. Linking Temporal and Spatial Variability of Millennial-Scale Sediment Yield to Aquatic Habitat in the Columbia River Basin. Utah State University, MS Thesis.
  • Oral:  Portugal, E., Belmont, P., 2012. Linking temporal and spatial variability of millennial and decadal-scale sediment yield to aquatic habitat in the Columbia River Watershed. Invited speaker in technical session, Society of Wetlands Scientists Pacific Northwest Chapter Meeting, September 19-21, 2012, Boise, ID
  • Poster:  Portugal, E., Belmont, P., Bouwes, N., 2012. Linking Temporal and Spatial Variability of Millennial and Decadal-Scale Sediment Yield to Aquatic Habitat in the Columbia River Watershed. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting December 3 - 7, 2012, San Francisco, CA
  • Poster:  Portugal, E., Belmont, P., Bouwes, N., 2012. Linking Long-Term Sediment Dynamics and Aquatic Habitat in the Columbia River Watershed. Spring Runoff Conference, April 3 – 4, 2012, Logan, UT
  • Poster:  Portugal, E., Bangen, S.G., Wheaton, J.M., and Bouwes, N., 2011. The Relative Importance of Inserting (TIN) Topographic Breaklines in DEM Creation. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting December 5 – 9, 2011, San Francisco, CA 
  • Oral:  Portugal, E., Martin, D., Loudenslager, E.J., Kinziger, A., 2008. Survival and Growth of Hatchery Reared O. clarki, O. mykiss and their F1 Hybrids. Oral Presentation, Annual Meeting of Gilbert Ichthyological Society, October 17 - 19, 2008, Ashland, OR