Throughout the United States, aggressive land development projects have raised the issue of environmental protection and habitat restoration to new heights. Never has the value and use of land and water played such an important part in the dialogue between developers and environmental conservationists.
Enhancing Value Through Sustained Environmental Integrity
As the value of land in and around streambanks has increased, engineers at the ERDC Coastal & Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) have responded to the need for effective stream erosion control and bed and bank protection training and techniques.
- Streambank Erosion and Protection, PROSPECT Course #285 offers the latest innovative solutions, practical knowledge and design considerations in river mechanics, geomorphology, and streambank protection and associated erosion control.
- Advanced Streambank Protection, PROSPECT Course #394 offers the latest innovations in guidance on system-wide watershed rehabilitation by introducing advanced concepts in fluvial geomorphology and channel dynamics, along with engineering methods for conducting background assessments and field data investigations, selecting and siting structures, evaluating channel stability, and producing stable channel designs.
- Advanced River Mechanics Workshops, funded through various methods from internal USACE funding mechanisms such as Water Operations Technical Support (WOTS) requests to funded outside USACE from other Federal, State or local groups. The primary focus of the workshops is to provide advanced river and watershed restoration training tailored to the needs of the requesting group or agency. As an example, the last WOTS River Mechanics Workshop (Sept 2022) investigated grade control structure (GCS) options that have been applied in the Las Vegas Wash, Las Vegas, NV. This includes history of channel instability, practices applied for stabilization, case studies with design considerations, and field site visits to the GCS.
The benefits of stream stabilization and restoration include improved aquatic and riparian habitat, greater ecosystem functionality, decreased maintenance costs, better access and safety for recreational users, and enhanced property values.
CHL engineers conduct the streambank erosion control and protection training workshop twice annually at the CHL laboratory in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Thirty-six hours in length, the training targets project managers, planners, technicians, engineers, biologists, designers, regulators and other personnel involved in Section 14, 1135, and 206 projects.
Streambank Erosion and Protection, PROSPECT Course #285 is a series of lectures, field exercises and on-site trainee team-developed designs. Additional areas of knowledge include:
- Fundamentals of fluvial geomorphology and river mechanics
- Hydraulic and geotechnical processes and causes of streambank erosion and failure
- Streambed degradation protection measures, including grade control structures and design
- Geotechnical considerations and design
- Environmental considerations for working design protection
- Overview and design criteria of streambank protection measures
- Techniques to analyze and select appropriate protection methods
- Erosion control in high velocity channels
- Construction, monitoring, maintenance, and repair of streambank protection projects
- Reconnaissance of a streambank erosion problem (pre-trip planning, gage data and aerial photography analysis, equipment needs, safety aspects, information gathering and measurement techniques)
- Hands-on engineering critique and evaluations from leading CHL experts, including analyses of successful and unsuccessful projects, reviews of upcoming/ongoing trainee projects, and open forums for discussion and questions)
Providing Hands-On Training for Real-World Analysis
An important part of the class is a half-day field trip to investigate a local stream. Students will be required to climb streambanks and wade approximately one mile of stream over a period of two-to-three hours. Field equipment is provided. However, trainees must bring appropriate field clothes, a windbreaker and rain gear.
Trainees receive hands-on training and experience with the best tools available in current multipurpose erosion control, stream restoration, and habitat improvement projects, including:
- Direct Bank Protection: Measures that stabilize the local eroding bank. Include riprap blanket, Longitudinal Peaked & Fill Stone Toe Protection (LPSTP/LFSTP), Riprap Trenchfill, Riprap Windrow, Sheet-pile, Concrete Mattress, Proprietary Methods, others.
- Re-directive (indirect): Measures that generally redirect flow away from eroding banks and re-establish new thalweg alignment. Includes bendway weirs, log weirs, stream and banks barbs, veins, spur dikes, timber-pile dikes, jetties, wing dams, groins, hard points, palisades, others.
- Grade Control: Measures that stabilize degrading channel beds, reconnect incised channel floodplain access and provide bank stabilization benefits. Includes rock sills, Newbury Rock Riffles, cross-veins, w-weirs, logs veins, beaver dam analogs, sheet-pile cutoff wall structures, others.
- Bioengineering: Measures that incorporate vegetation and woody structure into design in combination with other methods. Includes willow posts, brush mattress, wattles, coir rolls/mats, lunkers, log revetments, rootwads, live-staking, brush-layering, others.
At the conclusion of this course the student will be able to:
- Organize, prepare, and conduct a field analysis of a streambank erosion problem
- Review and analyze several alternative bank protection treatments
- Select the most effective treatment, (or combination of treatments) taking into consideration the expected engineering performance, environmental ramifications, and cost effectiveness of the project
- Develop a long-term monitoring, maintenance and repair plan for the project
Streambank Erosion and Protection, PROSPECT Course #285 and #394 (pre-requisite #285) is open to federal nominees assigned (a) Occupational Series: Selected 0000-0100, 0400, 0800, 1300 and (b) Grade GS-05 or above. The series is available on DVD.
For more information on Systems Approach to Stream Bed and Bank Erosion Control Training or other advanced restoration course, visit CHL online or contact Chris Haring (see contact information below).