Soil bioengineering techniques for riparian restoration Polster, D. F. (David Franklin), 1952-
Soil bioengineering is the use of living plant materials to perform some engineering function. Soil bioengineering techniques can be used to treat eroding banks, excess gravel and unstable slopes and can provide a finished product that treats the problem as well as providing appropriate riparian vegetation. The natural successional process associated with development of a healthy, functioning riparian vegetation cover is the model that is used to design repair systems that encourage restoration of riparian values. By providing a living, growing system for repair of damaged sites, possibly with wood and rock, the repair can contribute to living riparian area. Soil bioengineering systems have been used to treat a variety of degraded riparian areas. Live bank protection can be used to form defensive walls of vegetation along the eroding banks of rivers, streams and ponds. Live palisades can be used to re-establish riparian forests quickly. Live gravel bar staking can be used to treat areas where excessive gravel deposits from up-slope erosion threatens downstream channel morphology. Wattle fences, live pole drains, live smiles and a variety of other techniques can be used to treat bank instabilities. This paper presents descriptions of where soil bioengineering treatments have been used for riparian restoration. Examples are drawn from over twenty years of experience by the author. Paper presented at "High Elevation Mine Reclamation" conference sponsored by the Canadian Land Reclamation Association and the B.C. Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation. September 9-13, 2002, Dawson Creek, B.C.
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