Streambank & Lakeshore Protection
NRCS staff planting vegetation to stabilize a streambank. Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.
Riprap is large rocks placed in areas experiencing erosion that cannot be controlled with vegetation. Here riprap is placed on a streambank to prevent further erosion and water quality degradation from sediment. Photo courtesy of Hawk Creek Watershed Partnership.
Gabions are wire baskets filled with large stones that are used to stabilize shores and prevent streambank erosion. Photo courtesy of the USDA NRCS.
Streambank and lakeshore protection involves using vegetation or materials such as riprap or gabions to stabilize stream, river or ditch banks or lake or reservoir shores, protecting them from erosion or sloughing. It also includes removing snags or debris from banks and channels to improve stream flow and minimize bank erosion caused by high-velocity water flowing around the obstructions.
Sediment loading is a major water quality concern in Minnesota, and streambank erosion is a significant source of sediment in some Minnesota landscapes. Streambank and lakeshore protection is especially important for restoring and protecting surface water quality in these landscapes.
Diagram showing how obstructions (fallen trees, logs or other debris) can alter a stream's course and cause bank erosion. Image courtesy of Ohio DNR
Diagram of an eroded streambank before and after restoration. Slope shaping and vegetation are used to stabilize the bank and prevent erosion. Image courtesy of Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices - Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group.
Back to top
Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
See also resources for Riparian Buffer - Grass Filter Strip and Riparian Buffer, Forested.
See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District