In recent years, stream-bank
erosion has become a serious threat to land along many streams in
Illinois and throughout the nation, due to increasing volumes and
velocities of surface water runoff from both agricultural and urban
"The good news," said
Bob Frazee, University of Illinois Extension natural resources
educator, "is that landowners now have several low-cost alternatives
they can use to provide effective control for stream-bank erosion."
A new brochure entitled "Streambank
Stabilization in Illinois: Protecting Land, Property and Water
Quality" recommends that landowners and farmers begin the
stabilization process by using the channel evolution model to
identify what stage of erosion a stream is going through. The
brochure describes this model, which helps determine the underlying
cause of the bank erosion and identifies five stages of erosion:
- Stages 1 and 5: The stream banks are
practically stable and may only require minor spot treatments.
- Stages 2 and 3: The channel bottoms
of streams are eroding or have eroded and are deepening.
- Stages 3 and 4: Streams have stopped
getting deeper but are widening or meandering, trying to establish
and build a new floodplain.
- Stage 4: The channel is beginning to
stabilize and floodplain development is near completion.
Treatments to stabilize eroding
stream banks are also outlined in the new brochure. Options include
bend-way weirs, stream barbs, stone toe protection, rock riffles,
willow posts and vegetation. Each option is specifically suited for
certain stream conditions and must be selected carefully by a
qualified stream specialist. In some cases, more than one treatment
method may be combined to effectively return the stream to a stable
condition. Frazee cautions that installation of the wrong practice
will not solve the problem and could lead to failure of the
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Traditional methods of controlling
stream-bank erosion relied on large quantities of riprap and a
variety of concrete and steel structures, at a cost of $50 to $300
per foot of linear bank treated. These latest stabilization
techniques can be installed for $15 to $25 per linear foot, with
limited use of materials and maintenance.
The new, full-color brochure
identifies a number of advantages for landowners who are considering
a stream-bank stabilization installation. It also identifies key
agencies that may provide technical assistance in the assessment and
treatment of stream-bank erosion problems.
The brochure is being provided free
of charge to landowners, farmers, watershed groups, contractors,
agency staff and other interested individuals. It is available at
local Soil and Water Conservation District offices and University of
Illinois Extension Unit offices.
A copy may also be ordered by
contacting Bob Frazee, Natural Resources Educator, University of
Illinois Extension, East Peoria Extension Center, 727 Sabrina Drive,
East Peoria, IL 61611. His phone number is (309) 694-7501, ext. 226,
and his e-mail address is
The brochure was printed by
authority of the state of Illinois and produced by the Illinois
Department of Agriculture, Association of Illinois Soil and Water
Conservation Districts, and University of Illinois Extension. An
electronic version will be available on the cooperating agenciesí
websites in January 2005.
of Illinois news release]