Streambank Erosion

What is it:

Streambank stabilization practices protect banks of streams or constructed channels, and shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries to reduce erosion. Methods used include soil bioengineering and structural measures. Most measures are primarily used in streams and rivers, and for shoreline protection. Streambank stabilization is considered an in-channel practice.

Where is it used:

Streambank stabilization can be used where channel or impoundment banks are vulnerable due to instability. It can also be used where relatively simple erosion and stability control measures will solve the problem. Care should be taken so that the failure of these measures will not create a hazard that can result in serious damage to property or loss of life.

This standard does not apply to more complex bank erosion problems on major bodies of water such as Lake Erie and its major bays.

Why install it:

Benefits of streambank stabilization include:

  • Reducing loss of land, and reducing damage to land uses or other facilities adjacent to the banks.

  • Maintaining the flow or storage capacity of the channel or impoundment.

  • Reducing the downstream effects of sediment resulting from bank erosion.

  • Maintaining or restoring channel meanders that enhance stream conditions.

  • Improving or enhancing the stream corridor for fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetics, and recreation.

How does it work:

  • The root mass of living plants stabilizes the soil. Also, transpiration by the living plants reduces the soil moisture.

  • Measures such as rock riprap harden the banks and prevent scour.

  • Rock structures such as barbs deflect flow away from the banks.

  • Flattening side slopes reduces bank instability.

  • Floodplain establishment reduces shear stresses on the bed and banks.

Who do I contact in Ohio:





Extensive design details are available at Ohio NRCS Standard 580: Streambank and Shoreline Stabilization