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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Streambank Protection and Habitat Restoration

Authors
item Shields Jr, Fletcher
item Knight, Scott
item Cooper, Charles

Submitted to: International Conference on Water Resources Engineering Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 14, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Stream habitats are often degraded by accelerated bank erosion, especially along streams that are eroding their beds. Channel stabilization projects along these channels provide opportunities for habitat restoration. However, many stabilization measures are available, and little is known about the relative merits of each from a habitat perspective. Physical characteristics of aquatic habitats and fish were sampled in nine 100-m long reaches of Harland Creek, Mississippi, a meandering, sand and gravel- bed stream draining about 80 km**2 of hilly, mostly forested lands. Eroding banks of each sampled reach were stabilized using one of three measures: stone spur dikes, willow posts, and longitudinal stone toe. Three reaches stabilized using each measure were sampled. This paper is an initial report following the first year of a three-year effort. Although there were modest differences in habitat quality among the three treatments, differences in fish samples were slight. When completed, this research will assist resource managers and watershed planners in selecting channel erosion control measures that best protect and restore stream and riparian habitat values.

Technical Abstract: Stream habitats are often degraded by accelerated bank erosion, and channel stabilization projects provide opportunities for habitat restoration. Physical aquatic habitats and fish were sampled in nine 100-m long reaches of Harland Creek, Mississippi, a fourth-order, meandering, sand and gravel-bed stream. Concave banks of each sampled reach were stabilized using one of three techniques: stone spur dikes, willow posts, and longitudinal stone toe. Study design featured equal effort for each bank treatment. Sampling occurred at baseflow during spring (June) and fall (October) 1994, and will continue for at least two more years. Woody debris density was roughly five times greater in reaches with willow posts. Although habitats in reaches with willow posts and spurs were slightly deeper and slower than for stone toe, similar numbers of fish species (24 to 26) were captured adjacent to each bank treatment. Fish numbers were greater for spurs than the other two treatments.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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