Elk Creek Watershed Council, Umpqua Basin, Oregon

Billy Creek Erosion Control Riparian Improvement

The Elk Creek Watershed Council has worked with landowners to address streambank erosion on their lands. Eroding banks not only decrease agricultural production, but the fine sediment that is deposited in the stream can settle into spawning gravels and deprive developing eggs of the oxygen they need for survival. An eroding bank on Billy Creek was threatening to blow out an entire horseshoe bend and dump tons of sediment into the creek. The Council secured a grant to construct a "tree revetment" at the site. A tree revetment is a series of small trees, Christmas tree size or slightly larger, which are anchored to the toe of the eroding bank with a length of 1/4" aircraft cable. The trees slow the water before it reaches the eroding bank causing the sand and gravel in the water to drop out creating a new bank. Willows, planted amongst the trees during construction, take root in the new sand and gravel and secure the new bank. The revetment on Billy Creek moved the active part of the creek ten to fifteen feet away from the bank, and there has been no further erosion.

1/14  This eroding bank is only ten or twelve feet wide as the Creek doubles back in a horseshoe bend. Continued erosion would have collapsed this entire bank into the creek.
2/14  This is a view of the site from the road.
3/14  These trees were thinned from a nearby forest stand and hauled to the site with a 4-wheeler.
4/14  This is the bank during the early part of construction.
5/14  Ann Kercher and Walt Barton from Douglas SWCD helping with construction.
6/14  The revetment soon after completion.
7/14  The revetment as the fall rains begin.
8/14  After a large winter storm, sand is beginning to collect.
9/14  By spring the site is looking a lot different.
10/14  After a year, the willows are taking hold in the new bank.
11/14  After two years, the willows have completely taken over the bank
12/14  After three years, the stream has moved completely away from the eroding bank.
13/14  The willows are holding the sand and gravel in place, and are themselves slowing water before it reaches the bank. The willows also provide food for beaver in the area. Beaver dams also slow water, and provide habitat for young coho salmon in Billy Creek.
14/14  This is the same view from the road.