Protecting Your Shorelines Through Bank Stabilization
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. 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.
Through SOLitude’s close partnerships, we are proud to offer several premium shoreline erosion control solutions that halt sedimentation and restore damaged banks. These innovative technologies include ShoreSOX® and DredgeSOX®, which are comprised of patented photodegradable knitted mesh system that can be utilized to create a long-lasting sediment containment barrier around the water. Once in place, grass, native vegetation and buffer plants can be installed directly in to the knitted mesh, creating a beautiful and living wall of plants. One benefit of the SOX mesh technology is that it will not rip or lose its integrity over time, but rather, continue to hold the earth in place.
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.
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, shoreline erosion restoration, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil family of companies in North America.