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DEVELOPMENT OF A STREAMBANK STABILIZATION/STREAM RESTORATION PROGRAM IN AN URBAN WATERSHED

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Enhancing water quality and restoring/creating stream corridors are fundamental components of the Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky, Metropolitan Sewer District's (MSD) watershed management practices. For several years, MSD has focused on developing a streambank stabilization program, and it has steadily expanded such that vegetative stabilization approaches are increasingly accepted as viable design alternatives. This effort has required active management by MSD and has encountered several programmatic obstacles along the way. With a solid streambank stabilization program in place, MSD's efforts are currently evolving into a more holistic stream restoration program.

Both natural channel design and soil bioengineering concepts are critical components to any stream restoration program. Natural channel design is a process by which new or reconstructed channels and their associated riparian corridors are designed to be selfsustaining systems, incorporating naturally occurring stream processes. Soil bioengineering, in its simplest form, combines vegetation and structural elements to control erosion processes. Soil bioengineering techniques are often used in conjunction with natural channel design methods to provide streambank stabilization, re-vegetation and habitat enhancement.

In order to actively support and develop a stream restoration program, preservation and enhancement of the environment must be core fundamental values of your organization. MSD has long been a proponent of the environment and began emphasizing the benefits of a green approach to projects in the late 1980's. Training opportunities were sponsored by MSD to promote these design approaches within the local engineering and regulatory community and to encourage firms to seek further education. In addition, the need to partner with other firms to develop a multi-disciplined approach to complex stream system dynamics was emphasized from the program's inception.

Through the emphasis of a green approach whenever practical, the community has experienced an increase in the number of projects which utilize these techniques, with no projects prior to 1994 and 11 completed projects anticipated by 2000. These projects range from routine capital projects to small projects completed by MSD's maintenance crews.

This paper will focus on issues involved in developing and managing a streambank stabilization/stream restoration program. Discussion topics will include getting a program started, a brief overview of stream restoration techniques, items to consider during construction and a summary of items learned throughout the development of the program.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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