Bank Stabilization on Rye Creek

 

 

It was the spring of 2013 when an interested landowner first came into the BRWF offices looking for help with an eroding bank on his property on Rye Creek.  Exactly two years later, BRWF broke ground on a project that will reduce property loss and keep excessive sediment out of this impaired stream. 

The sediment issues in the Rye Creek drainage comes from a handful of sources

  • highly erosive soils

  • areas that were heavily logged

  • huge stretches of land that were intensively burned during the fires of 2000

Eroding stream banks lower in the watershed add yet more sediment during high flow.  These factors add up to entirely too much sediment falling from the hillsides, washing downstream, and ultimately winding up in the Bitterroot River.

"Instead of relying on large rocks for stabilization, we’re using woody debris, soils, willows, cobble from the banks, and biodegradable coconut fabric. These materials will provide roughness that will slow water to reduce bank erosion, promote plant growth and provide better riparian habitat for wildlife.” – Heather Barber

Nearly 35 volunteers gave a total of 300 hours to help cut willows, collect woody debris, make stakes, create soil lifts and plant riparian shrubs for these projects.

Volunteers collected 5,000 willows

Volunteers collected 5,000 willows

Volunteers collected 5,000 willows

Volunteers collected 5,000 willows

Volunteers collected 5,000 willows

BRWF Team collecting woody debris

We collected over 30 cubic yards of woody debris for the toe of the projects

We collected over 30 cubic yards of woody debris for the toe of the projects

We collected over 30 cubic yards of woody debris for the toe of the projects

Project Site 1 Before

Began by pulling the bank back and laying woody debris for a stable toe

Woody debris is leveled with dirt and willow cuttings are added

Biodegradable coconut fabric is used to hold in the bank

Soil and sod are packed into these soil lifts

Add another layer of willows

Another soil lift

Finally stake it all in at the top

Project Site 1 After

Project Site 2 Before

Began by pulling the bank back and laying woody debris for a stable toe

Woody debris is leveled with dirt and willow cuttings are added

Soil and sod are packed into these soil lifts

Biodegradable coconut fabric is staked in at the top

Bank is stabilized with woody debris, willows, sod, coconut fabric

Project Site 2 After

Disturbed earth was re-seeded with native grasses

Riparian shrubs were planted behind the soil lifts

Riparian shrubs were planted behind the soil lifts

Browse protectors will safeguard these young plants from deer and elk

Thank you to all the volunteers that made this project a success!