Relocated Stream

Stream Relocation

Since the turn of the 20th century, many streams and rivers nationwide have been channelized to accommodate agriculture and development needs. A technique known as armoring incorporated large, angular rock (rip rap) to stabilize the modified channels. Although channelization in many cases was successful in creating agriculture and development opportunities, existing fishery and wildlife habitat areas often suffered adverse effects because channel modifications were not based on natural channel design principles. These straightened sections are typically wider, have much faster flows, contain much less suitable holding water, and in general are far less productive than undisturbed reaches. Equally important, the structural integrity both upstream and downstream has been compromised, as armoring does not remove the problem of erosion, but instead spreads it to other areas within the watershed.

The historic channel alignment is typically preferable, offering the most suitable and obvious solution for relocation. However, many times the historic channels have been compromised by other agricultural activities, and a comprehensive design process is sometimes warranted in order to maximize habitat enhancements.

We work closely with natural resource consultants throughout this process, which has resulted in stream relocation projects which are not only functional and structurally sound but are aesthetically pleasing and indiscernible from undisturbed reaches.

In all cases, it is a very gratifying experience for everyone involved to restore these impaired streams and rivers to their natural order, and in doing so, create ideal habitat resulting in increased recreational opportunities.

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