Craig Benson

Lecturer - Ecological Restoration & Environmental Conflict Resolution

Craig Benson
(707) 826-0125
Brookins House, room 101

I come to the University with a passion for both teaching and ongoing learning. Like
my students, I have a learner’s mind and try to cultivate, in my classes, an inclusive,
interactive learning environment against a backdrop of academic rigor. I am an
applied scientist and community practitioner who has been working towards
healthy communities and healthy watersheds in the private, public, and non-profit
sectors in the Western U.S and overseas. Hence, I teach environmental science as a
biophysical discipline, a social science, a cross-cultural endeavor, and a facilitative
art. I believe that scholarship, skillset, and lore combine to achieve positive
outcomes based in both empirical and anecdotal data.

After 30 years in the practice of applied science and adaptive research, I have made
many mistakes, monitored interesting failures, and also experienced some hard-
won revelations. I take comfort in physicist Niels Bohr’s quote, “An expert is a
person who has made all the mistakes in a narrow field”. I daily value the
opportunity to exchange knowledge and mentor students towards a shared goal of
informed earth stewardship.

Specialty Area

My main interests are in ecological restoration, watershed rehabilitation, non-point
source pollution planning, erosion & sediment control, and soil bioengineering. My
secondary interest lies in assisting diverse community stakeholders to resolve
conflicts inherent to ecosystem management.


Post-Graduate Studies Environmental Planning, UC Davis Extension 2001
Graduate Studies Natural Resource Planning, Humboldt State University, 1999
Graduate Studies Forestry Extension, Excelsior College, 1998
B.A. Theatre Arts/Dance Emphasis, Sonoma State University, 1988
B.A. Environmental Studies, Sonoma State University, 1988

Courses Taught

ESM 355 Principles of Ecological Restoration
ESM 305 Environmental Conflict Resolution
SOIL 468 Introduction to Agroforestry
SOC 480/680 ISADR Mediator Certificate Program
PE 161 Beginning Backpacking



Coastal Protection Under a Changing Climate, Environmental Connection Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina Feb. 2020

Phytoremediation: Treating Contaminated Soil & Water, Environmental Connection, Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina Feb. 2020

Humboldt Bay Restoration, Friends of the Dunes Coastal Naturalist Training, Eureka, CA, Sept. 2019

Post Fire Rehabilitation, Shasta College Erosion Control BMP Summit, Redding, CA,  June 2019

Climate Change and Ecological Restoration: Environmental Connection Conference, Denver, CO Feb. 2019

Saving Soil, Saving Culture, More Blue, More Green, and Less Brown Conference, Christchurch, NZ August 2018

Green Slope Protection: Ecomondo Conference, Rimini, Italy November 2018

BMP Toolbox, Shasta College Erosion Control BMP Summit, Redding, CA, June 2018

The Green Rush: Marijuana Cultivation Impacts and Opportunities, Environmental Connection Conference, Long Beach, CA Feb. 2018

 Humboldt Bay and Dunes: First Line of Defense Against Sea Level Rise, Friends of the Dunes, December 2017

Good Dirt Keynote Speech, Conference on Soil & Water in a Changing Climate, Lleida, Spain, June 2017

Peaks to Reefs: Watershed Rehabilitation, Honor’s College – Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR, May 2017

Dam Sediments: Over, Under, Around or Through, Environmental Connection Conference, Atlanta, GA Feb. 2017

Mad River Watershed Bioinvaders, Mad River Alliance Humboldt Steelhead Days,  January 2017

Invasive Spartina Treatment on Humboldt Bay, Friends of Arcata Marsh, Arcata, CA, October 2015

Que tan sucia está tu cuenca? Carga Máxima Diaria de Sedimentos, CICES VII Conference, Cartagena, Colombia August 2016

How dirty is your watershed? TMDL Compliance, Environmental Connection Conference, San Antonio, TX Feb. 2016

Agroforestry for Soil Protection and Fertility, Environmental Connection Conference, Portland, OR Feb. 2015

Ingenaria Agroforestal: UNED & Earth Institute, Costa Rica, October 2014

Rehabilitacion de Cuencas: CICES VI, Antigua, Guatemala, October 2014

Revegetation that Works: Lake Tahoe Conservancy, King’s Beach, CA Nov. 2010

Stormwater BMPs for Regional Parks: Fish Net For Sea, Santa Clara County, CA

The ABC’s of Construction BMPs: North Coast Stormwater Coalition, Eureka, CA,  October 2009

Reclamação e Revegetação das Minas, CICES V, Belo Horizonte, Brazil August 2008

 Bioengineered Bank Stabilization: Ahupua’a Conference, Oahu, HI, August 2007

 Ecology and Engineering: A Marriage Made in…?, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers Conference, San Francisco CA Nov 2005