Written by Industry Expert John M. Phelps, III, Environmental Scientist and Regional Director
Water is the most powerful force on earth. Year after year, wet weather events cause property loss and result in significant remediation costs.
Calm-water banks and shorelines around lakes, ponds and stormwater basins erode at a gentler rate than coastlines and river banks because the water has a lower velocity. Common causes of calm-water bank and shoreline erosion include rainwater sheets flowing over unprotected areas, high-traffic spaces where people and animals are accessing the water and small-wave action caused from wind.
Proper bank stabilization is one of the easiest methods to protect calm-water shorelines. There are many shoreline stabilization methods, like the use of rock, synthetic materials, vegetation, or a combination of the above, with varying results and costs.
Rock effectively dissipates the velocity of moving water and is ideal for foot traffic. Stone, rock and rip rap come in various sizes. Choosing the correct type of rock and size is as important as the correct technique for placing the rock. Larger stone is more expensive, so protecting a long stretch of shoreline could go way over budget. Small stone can migrate and cause future problems if placed in areas of high flow.
Alternatively, there are several types of synthetic stabilization materials available. Bulkheads and walls create a rigid shoreline. Geotextile fabrics, filter soxx and poly-mesh products have an advantage in areas of steep slopes, but come at a cost. Bio logs or coir logs, long tubes typically filled with coconut fibers, can be used along a shoreline. Inserting herbaceous perennials and grasses into the logs provides a secure growing medium as the plants become established.
Plants are a natural and beautiful way to protect and stabilize calm-water banks. Perennial species and grasses can be planted along the shoreline to create a terrestrial buffer. The plant roots will grow throughout the soil, naturally stabilizing the terrestrial ground. Hydrophilic species planted in the water along the banks will create an aquatic buffer and greatly reduce the effect of wave action.
Proactively installing rocks, manmade materials and plants around the perimeter of a lake, pond or stormwater basin will stabilize the banks. Regardless of the methods chosen, proactive stabilization is almost always less expensive than a reactive remedy. When left unchecked, water will always find the path of least resistance. Put a rock, a soxx or a plant in its way.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs.
John M. Phelps, III is an Environmental Scientist and Regional Director with SOLitude Lake Management. Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Lake, pond and fisheries management services, consulting, and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.