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Streambank Assessment Resources

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Training Courses:

Agents of Watershed Change.
This EPA Watershed Academy Web online training module provides an overview of natural and human-made change processes and the ways in which they affect the structure and function of watersheds. The module explains how natural and human-caused erosion and sediment deposition in and along waterways affect watershed change.

Environmentally Sensitive Streambank Stabilization Training Course. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The International Erosion Control Association will bring this training course to your organization on demand. This course will address redirective vs. resistive bank protection techniques, vegetative techniques, and "hard" streambank stabilization techniques (riprap and gabions). The focus of this course is on design, implementation, and real-life applications.

IECA Digital Education Sediment Training Courses. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The International Erosion Control Association offers a series of digital training courses that can run on personal computers. Some of the courses available for purchase include:
  • The Dynamics of Soil: New Practices and Methods for the 21st Century
  • Low Impact Development: Saving Soil by Design
  • How to Perform an Analysis of a Streambank Erosion Problem
  • Select, Design, Install and Inspect Rolled Erosion Control Products (RECPs)
  • Keys to Understanding How to use Compost and Organic Matter for Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Monitoring is a Dirty Word
  • The ABCs of Silt Fence Installation and Maintenance

North Carolina Stream Restoration Institute - River Courses. [BROKEN]Exit EPA Disclaimer
This North Carolina State University-based organization occasionally offers training workshops including
  • Stream Classification and Assessment
  • Stream Restoration Design Principles
  • Advanced Stream Restoration Design Principles

Protecting Instream Flows: How Much Water Does a River Need?
This EPA Watershed Academy Web online training module discusses an approach for defining and restoring the streamflow conditions that sustain the biological diversity -- native riverine species, aquatic and riparian communities, and natural ecosystem functions -- of rivers. Instream flows affect the stability of sediment in and around the waterbody.

Stream Channel Short Courses. Exit EPA Disclaimer
Wildland Hydrology, Inc., offers a variety of short courses on stream channel design, fluvial geormorphology, and other sediment-related topics (see "Courses" link on Web page).

Stream Corridor Structure.
This EPA Watershed Academy Web online training module is about the physical structure of one of the most ecologically and hydrologically important parts of the watershed and the environment in general -- the stream corridor (defined as the stream, its floodplains, and a transitional upland fringe). The module explains role of sediment and erosion in stream corridor structure.

USACE HEC Training. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center offers several training courses using its computer software. Courses are open to the public if not filled by USACE employees. Courses include, but are not limited to
  • Sediment Transport in Rivers and Reservoirs. Teaches principles of open channel hydraulics, channel aggradation and degradation, sediment transport, and the application of Scour and Deposition in rivers and Reservoirs computer program (HEC-6) to predict stream behavior.
  • Hydrologic Analysis for River and Wetland Restoration. Provides an understanding of the role of hydrology in river and wetland restoration and equips participants with the tools for the various hydrologic analyses necessary in planning and design of these features.
The Web site has a complete course list.


Software, Models and Databases:

About PDF Files...
Many of the documents listed on this site are PDF files. Viewing a PDF file requires use of Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software.  *EPA's PDF page  provides information on downloading the software.

A Spatial Technique for Estimating Streambank Erosion Based on Watershed Characteristics (Evans et al., 2003). (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
This paper, published in the Journal of Spatial Hydrology (Vol.3, No.1), describes a GIS-based technique to estimate streambank erosion rates. Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University's Penn State Institutes of the Environment found they could predict total sediment loads at the watershed scale without the use of detailed field data by relying on the use of data sets that are easily obtained and expressed as GIS data layers. The researchers simulated and observed sediment loads in twenty-eight Pennsylvania watersheds, and developed a model.

RIVERMorph. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The RIVERMorph software is a database oriented software system geared towards channel measurement data collection/storage, reference reach data collection/storage, river assessment/monitoring and engineering applications including natural channel design. The software package has been developed into an expert system for the design of natural channels; will allow the user to store all geomorphic data collected in one easy to access location; will facilitate the development of geomorphically derived data such as regional curves; and will provide a medium through which geomorphically derived data can be shared.

STREAM Modules: Spreadsheet Tools for River Evaluation, Assessment and Monitoring. [BROKEN]Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State University have developed this suite of spreadsheet tools (available for free public use). The modules include
  • Reference Reach Spreadsheet for reducing channel survey data and calculating basic bankfull hydraulic characteristics
  • Regime Equations for determining the dimensions of typical channel form
  • Meander Pattern that dimensions a simple arc and line best fit of the sine-generated curve
  • Cross-section and Profile that can be used to illustrate the difference between existing and proposed channel form
  • Sediment Equations which includes expanded and condensed forms of critical dimensionless shear, boundary roughness and common bed load equations
  • Contrasting Channels that computes hydraulic and bed load characteristics in a side-by-side comparison of two channels of different user defined forms.

USDA ARS Software. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has participated in the development of a series of software tools to assess sediment- and channel-related processes. The following tools are available from the ARS:
  • AGNPS. AGricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Model (AGNPS) is a joint USDA Agricultural Research Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service system of computer models developed to predict nonpoint source pollutant loadings within agricultural watersheds. It contains a continuous simulation, surface runoff model designed to assist with determining BMPs, the setting of TMDLs, and for risk & cost/benefit analyses.
  • Bank Stability and Toe Erosion Model. The Bank Stability Model is an spreadsheet-based model that calculates bank Factor of Safety for new or existing channel banks. The model will help to assess the stability of existing channel banks, predicting the effect that changes in riparian land use will have, or designing new channels.
  • CONCEPTS. The National Sedimentation Laboratory has developed the CONservational Channel Evolution and Pollutant Transport System (CONCEPTS) computer model to simulate the evolution of incised streams and to evaluate the long-term impact of rehabilitation measures to stabilize stream systems and reduce sediment yield.
  • RIST. The Rainfall Intensity Summarization Tool (RIST) is a Windows-based program designed to facilitate analysis of time-and-date stamp tipping-bucket precipitation records.
  • RUSLE 1.06 and 2.0. The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equations (RUSLE) are erosion prediction technologies, also referred to as erosion models, that are widely used to estimate rates of soil erosion caused by rainfall and associated overland flow. RUSLE1 and RUSLE2 are used by government agencies around the world to assess and inventory erosion to assist public policy development.

USGS Surface Water Software. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed numerous software packages for assessing surface water and sedimentation. Some might be applicable for streambank sediment assessment, including
  • CAP. Culvert Analysis Program
  • CGAP. Channel Geometry Analysis Program
  • DAFLOW. Streamflow routing in upland channels or channel networks
  • MODEIN. Computation of total sediment discharge by the modified Einstein procedure
  • NCALC. Manning's n value calculation program
Go to the Web site for these or other USGS surface water software packages.


Publications, Web Sites & Other Resources:

Environmentally-Sensitive Streambank Stabilization (E-SenSS).[BROKEN] Exit EPA Disclaimer
Originally funded by the National Cooperative Highways Research Program, ESenSS is a tool to aid highway engineers, restoration ecologists, watershed hydrologists, biologists, and soil conservationists in designing projects that restore stream and river systems, while protecting property and structures. This CD manual includes typical design drawings, construction and installation specifications, and an extensive photo gallery of project examples, all based on extensive research and experience. This manual contains 44 different channel and bank protection techniques in the categories of river training, bank armor and protection, riparian buffer and stream corridor opportunities, and slope stabilization. ESenSS also includes the software "Greenbank," which is an innovative program for selecting and ranking appropriate stabilization and protection techniques based on a series of site-specific conditions.

The First Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds (ICRW): In-Stream Sediment Assessment Papers. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The ICRW was held in Benson, Arizona, in October 2003. The conference proceedings are available online and include a number of number of streambank sediment assessment-related documents, such as
  • Combined Geomorphic and Numerical-Modeling Analyses of Sediment Loads for Developing Water-Quality Targets for Sediment
  • Effect of Peak Flow Increases on Sediment Transport Regimes Following Timber Harvest, Western Cascades, Oregon
  • Incorporating Bank-Toe Erosion by Hydraulic Shear into a Bank-Stability Model: Missouri River, Eastern Montana
  • An Interregional Comparison of Channel Structure and Transient Storage in Streams Draining Harvested
  • Modeling Hydrologic Variables and Terrain Features for Strategically Locating Riparian Buffers
  • Sediment Yield from Semiarid Watersheds
  • Simulating Channel Geomorphic Change in Semi-Arid Watersheds
  • Soil Contributions to Sediment Properties in Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed: Influence of Slope Factors
See the Web site for a complete list.

Incorporating Bank-Toe Erosion by Hydraulic Shear into a Bank-Stability Model: Missouri River, Eastern Montana (Simon et al., 2003). (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
This paper describes the use of modeling for predicting the impact of flood release on five riverbanks typical of conditions along the Missouri River in eastern Montana. The research showed how site vulnerability, and potential remedies, can be identified relatively quickly using a combination of a comparatively sophisticated seepage model coupled to two simple and widely accessible bank erosion and stability models.

Instructional Manual for USGS Sediment Observers (Johnson, 1997). (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
This instruction manual provides an overview of the U.S. Geological Survey Sediment Program, presents basic theory on sediment transport, and provides step-by-step instructions on when and how to sample for sediment.

Polyacrylamide (PAM) Research Project. Exit EPA Disclaimer
This site, maintained by the USDA's Northwest Irrigation Soils and Research Lab, provides information about the use of PAM to reduce turbidity in surface water. The site offers links to publications, PAM-related regulations, and information about other PAM projects throughout the world.

Post Workshop Summary, The Sino-U.S. Joint Workshop on Sediment Transport and Sediment Induced Disasters. (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
This report summarizes the presentations at the workshop (held March 15-17, 1999 in Beijing, China) and the discussions following each. Presentation topics fell into one of nine categories:
  1. Physical and Numerical Modeling of Sedimentation
  2. Morphological Changes and Disasters
  3. River training and Strategies for Sediment Disaster Reduction
  4. Alluvial Sedimentation
  5. Sediment Movement in Rivers
  6. Fluvial Hydraulics and Sediment Transport
  7. Slope and Channel Erosion Control
  8. Human Activities Induced Sediment Problem
  9. Reservoir Sedimentation and Irrigation

Recent Progress in the Development of a SPARROW Model of Sediment for the Conterminous U.S. (Schwarz et al., 2003). (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
This paper reports on recent progress made to empirically address the question of sediment fate and transport on a national scale. The model presented is based on the SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) methodology, first used to estimate the distribution of nutrients in streams and rivers of the US, and subsequently shown to describe land and stream processes affecting the delivery of nutrients.

Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices (FISRWG, 1998 - revised 2001). Exit EPA Disclaimer
Developed by the Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group, this document represents an unprecedented cooperative effort by the 15 participating federal agencies to produce a common technical reference on stream corridor restoration. The manual, available online, discusses the ecological processes, structure, and functions forming stream corridor systems; stream corridor characterization and condition analysis; developing a restoration plan; and restoration design, implementation, and monitoring.

USDA ARS National Sedimentation Laboratory: Sediment Research Projects. (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) maintains the National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL) in Oxford, MS. The NSL focuses on three areas of research:
  1. Channel and Watershed Processes Research,
  2. Water Quality and Ecology Research, and
  3. Upland Erosion Processes Research.
Users may download a brochure (PDF) or go on a virtual tour for a summary of the history and current research pursued by the NSL. The NSL's major research projects include Descriptions and contact information for the individual NSL projects being carried out under the umbrella of the above major research projects may be reviewed online. Type your keyword of interest, such as "sediment" or "transport," in the search box. Some examples of the NSL's instream sediment assessment projects underway include

USDA ARS National Sediment Laboratory: Instream Sediment Assessment Publications. Exit EPA Disclaimer
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) maintains the National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL) in Oxford, MS. The NSL focuses on three areas of research:
  1. Channel and Watershed Processes Research,
  2. Water Quality and Ecology Research, and
  3. Upland Erosion Processes Research.
The Web site contains abstracts, citations, and contact information for NSL authored or co-authored publications. Some examples of publications listed include

USDA FS Water & Watersheds Web Site. Exit EPA Disclaimer
This U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (FS) site (www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/water) offers links to FS sediment project Web sites, including
  • Caspar Creek Watershed Study. This Web site provides extensive information about the nature of hydrologic, erosion, and sedimentation impacts of logging operations on this northern California watershed.
  • Fine Sediment in Pools. This Web site describes how fine sediment can influence channel form, and offers links to publications.
  • Turbidity Threshold Sampling. This Web site detailed information about turbidity threshold sampling, an automated procedure for measuring turbidity and sampling suspended sediment. The site describes ongoing projects and provides links to many publications.

Using a Bank Erosion Hazard Index (BEHI) to Estimate Annual Sediment Loads from Streambank Erosion in the West Fork White River Watershed (Van Eps et al., 2004). (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) utilized a bank erosion hazard index (BEHI) and data collected from surveys of streambank profile measurements to develop a graphical model that estimated streambank erosion rates and the annual sediment load due to accelerated streambank erosion.

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