How to stabilize an eroding bank; West Linn style

Students from West Linn High School came out to Oregon City this week to do some major work on Abernathy creek. We had ecologist Dennis O’Conner come out to lead the students in a major bioengineering project there. The state of the old bank was horrible. Rather than a gradual bank filled with native trees and shrubs, it was a bramble of blackberries with a 12 foot wall leading straight into the stream, with the potential for major erosion in a future rain storm.

Before the students arrived, we got some earth-movers to peel back the bank so it was a much more gradual drop into the stream. But we needed to create a way from preventing future erosion, which is where the West Linn High School classes came in, to help us with this feat of bioengineering. We placed bunches of native plant branches such as willow, dogwood, and spirea, fascine bundles or waddles in contour with the bank and buried them. By May, these branches will have propagated into new plants who will not only add to the native biodiversity of the riparian ecosystem but will create a nice matrix of roots to hold down that soil from washing into our streams.

Exactly how did we do this? Since pictures are worth a thousand words, why don’t you see for yourself:

Digging a trench along contour

Making a waddle

Trench filled with waddles

Staking down the waddles

Covering up the waddles

After all this, we threw down some straw, some sterile quick-growing grass, and some natural fiber which will prevent erosion in the short-term while we wait for these plants to take root. All this work wasn’t enough for West Linn to accomplish, as these classes of overachievers also managed to get over 150 native trees and shrubs planted around the bank. Wow!

Thanks for all of your amazing hard work West Linn

2 thoughts on “How to stabilize an eroding bank; West Linn style

  1. Pingback: Stream Bank Restoration at Abernethy Creek is no Joke | SOLV Green Team

  2. Pingback: A Rough Bundle of Brushwood « Prairie Piece: living in harmony with nature

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