The Elk River Basin is an ecologically and economically significant drainage in Southwest Missouri.
Unfortunately, like other river basins in the state, streambank erosion impacts its waters, resulting in sedimentation and nutrient pollution, loss of in-stream habitat, and degradation of water quality and recreation opportunities for local communities. At this site on the lower Elk River near Noel, streambank erosion has resulted in about 7.5 acres of land, totaling ~170,000 tons of soil, lost in the past 20 years.
This 1,650 ft. eroding streambank was stabilized by implementing sophisticated engineering and nature-based approaches to stream management to stop the erosion, enhance habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve downstream recreational benefit.
Plant-based bioengineering was used to ensure long-term stability and ecological function, including live brush layering on top of the boulder/tree root wad toe with ~50,000 native tree live-cuttings for ensuring deep-rooted vegetation in the streambank itself, hundreds of pounds of native seed for rapid- and long-term herbaceous plant growth, over 1,250 potted native trees planted in the constructed floodplain, and heavy fiber-based erosion control blankets for stopping erosion, resisting sheer stress, and facilitating seed growth.
The Nature Conservancy in Missouri
Missouri Department of Natural Resources