Streambank Bioengineering Underway along the Bushkill

Posted on: November 23rd, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

A project is under­way to reveg­e­tate stream­banks along the Bushkill in the Town of Olive. The project just off Wat­son Hol­low Rd. is the first stream­bank bio­engi­neer­ing project under­tak­en by the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) in the Ashokan Water­shed. Bio­engi­neer­ing is an approach that uses live plant mate­r­i­al to sta­bi­lize stream­banks and restore nat­ur­al veg­e­ta­tion along streams. The Bushkill project uses live fascines — or bun­dles of woody plant stems — and ver­ti­cal stakes and poles dri­ven into the fascines to reveg­e­tate streambanks.

Bundles of woody stems, called fascines, are ready for installation.

Bun­dles of woody stems, called fascines, are ready for installation.

The fascines are 20-ft long twine-wrapped bun­dles of stems cut from wil­low, dog­wood, and alder species. Ver­ti­cal stakes are cut­tings from sycamore, alder, wil­low, and dog­wood. Assum­ing the live cut­tings stay in con­tact with mois­ture-con­tain­ing soils, they will sprout and grow next spring. Fascines made from live cut­tings enjoy a much high­er suc­cess rate than pot­ted plants, up to 90% sur­vival rates accord­ing to CSBI Pro­gram Coor­di­na­tor Bob­by Tay­lor. The cut­tings are dor­mant this fall and will not suf­fer from the rough treat­ment and cold temperatures.

Bob­by says the fascines, which are placed par­al­lel to the stream chan­nel, are being used to pro­vide root sta­bi­liza­tion of the entire stream­bank. The live mate­r­i­al, which was har­vest­ed local­ly, is also much less expen­sive than pot­ted plants. Fascines can with­stand high­er flows that may occur in the spring, and are less resis­tant to wash out. The native shrub species used have flex­i­ble stems that tend not to trap debris and are adapt­ed to shady con­di­tions in the stream corridor.

Vertical posts staked into buried fascines along the Bushkill in the Town of Olive.

Ver­ti­cal posts staked into fascines buried in trench­es along the Bushkill in the Town of Olive.

About 1,200 ft of stream­bank (along 600 ft of stream) will be sta­bi­lized with over 1,000, 20-ft fascines by project end. The project is being con­struct­ed by Fas­tracs Inc. Exca­vat­ing out of Red Hook, NY. About two dozen crew mem­bers for Fas­tracs are installing the project over a three-week period.

The project was designed by One Nature LLC in Bea­con, NY. Bob­by Tay­lor and Adam Doan of Ulster Coun­ty Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict (SWCD) pro­vid­ed project man­age­ment on behalf of the AWSMP. Tiffany Runge, also with SWCD, is con­duct­ing as-built sur­vey of the project site.