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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ecological and Physical Considerations for Stream Projects

Authors
item Boyer, K - USDA-NRCS
item Shields Jr, Fletcher

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2004
Publication Date: August 31, 2007
Citation: Boyer, K. L. and Shields, F. D., Jr. 2007. Ecological and physical considerations for stream projects. Chapter 1 in Stream Restoration Design, National Engineering Handbook Part 654, USDA-NRCS Washington, D. C., CD-ROM.

Technical Abstract: The Stream Design Guide provides guidance for multidisciplinary teams who are planning and designing projects that are intended to control floods or sediment sources, hasten drainage, stabilize banks, improve fish habitat, or restore ecological functions and processes. Stream corridors (comprised of channels, riparian zones, and floodplains) are shaped by the forces of flowing water, which depend on the local topography, and by the geological characteristics of the landscape they traverse. Stream corridors are also influenced by the cumulative effects of upland and upstream activities and practices including agricultural production, forestry, recreation, or urban development. The chemical and biological processes that occur within stream corridors are intricate and involve numerous linkages and feedback loops. Fluvial systems are dynamic, changing over time and in space in response to their hydrology and geomorphology, and the interactions of these physical processes with biotic communities (bacteria, plants, animals). To protect species, habitats, and water resources, designers must incorporate environmental features into stream project designs. Key principles include restoring or maintaining the inherent complexities of stream corridors, ecological linkages, and their physical connections. Projects that are compatible with the inherent tendencies of stream corridor systems tend to be more stable, require less maintenance, and are more ecologically productive than traditional engineered approaches, and these advantages should be highlighted when determining design options.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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