Just what is stream restoration all about? You may have heard about it already, but do you know what exactly it’s for? In a nutshell, stream restoration is when the environmental health of a stream or river is improved through a set of activities.
There are several ways in which the natural function of a stream or a river can be restored. They range from something as simple as removing disturbance from the stream, to stabilizing stream banks or by installing storm water facilities.
There are also several techniques used in stream restoration. The first technique is called the channel modification. This deals with modifying a stream channel to address degradation. While this will result in improving wildlife habitat in and around the stream, this could also lead to excessive erosion and/ or flooding if not planned carefully.
Another technique is using cross- vanes. These are u- shaped log structures which are used for reducing velocity and energy on the banks. This technique is very effective for reducing bank erosion, maintaining channel capacity and improving the habitat for aquatic species. Variations of the cross- vane include the J- Hook vane and the W- Weir.
One of the newest techniques being used in stream restoration today is the installation of engineered log jams. When too much wood or debris is removed from a stream or a river, it fails to maintain bank stabilization. This leads to an unhealthy animal and plant habitat. To counter this, experts have introduced the use of engineered log jams. These are especially designed to meet specific restoration needs. When installed these are very effective for adding water diversity which eventually leads to creating pools and varying water temperature. This means fish and other stream dwelling creatures are provided with the right environment to hunt, hide, feed and just live.