From the observation tower, the entire stream corridor is visible, although Deer Creek itself may be hidden behind the tree cover. Notice the setback which separates the stream corridor from farming, mowing and other land use activities. Due to the threat of flooding, it is recommended to avoid development in the floodplain area. The resulting permanent vegetation (grass, shrubs and trees) is one of the best means for bank protection. This vegetation provides several benefits: a filter strip which cleans sediment and nutrients from water runoff; shade to keep the water cool and increase oxygen content; food for aquatic wildlife; and habitat for many upland wildlife species.
A 3.2 acre wetland area can also be seen from the observation tower. Constructed in 1989, this area demonstrates the ways in which wetlands may be built on farmland to serve as habitat for water fowl, provide food for upland wildlife and offer an effective filter for pollutants from runoff and water discharge. The wetland's average depth is two feet and is typically found in low-lying areas.
Stream Tree Planting
The forested area next to Deer Creek serves important water quality functions. The tree roots hold the soil in place, keeping the stream from "wandering", eroding the streambank and consuming crop field or pasture. Trees also serve as a filter for sediment and pollutants from water runoff.
Livestock Watering Areas
Uncontrolled livestock access to streams can result in bank erosion, damage streamside vegetation and degrade water quality with solid waste pollution. Off-stream watering and fencing can control grazing and exclude livestock from stream channels. Furthermore, good off-stream watering practices can facilitate rotational grazing, reduces livestock injuries and increases production. A typical livestock watering tank, which is fed from an existing pond, costs between $300-$500. Government cost-sharing is often available for this purpose.
BANK PROTECTION - SITE 1 (See below site map)
Site 1 provides a streambank protection demonstration which compares eight techniques to help prevent erosion.
Tree Revetment or Kicker- By placing and securing a tree deflector on the stream's bank, this practice reduces erosion by deflecting high-velocity water away from the eroding streambank while allowing natural stream sedimentation to fill in the eroded area. Trees in the water also add fish habitat.
Gabions-Through this approach, wire baskets are filled with rocks then stacked into the streambank to stabilize steep banks and provide erosion control protection from high velocity water. Although labor intensive and somewhat unsightly, gabions work well in urban areas where little excavation is possible and low risk protection is needed.
Multi-Bloc- Placing a rubber-latex block wall on the bank provides a sturdy and reliable reinforcement for steep slopes. This innovative product, produced from recycled tires, functions like gabions, but are installed with less labor, at a lower cost, and reuse old tires that would have been wasted.
Rock Rip Rap-This traditional bank protection approach places rock, typically measuring eighteen inches in depth, on the bank's slope to keep banks in place and to deflect water away from the eroded section of the streambank.
Dormant Willow Post -Willow posts (5-6 feet long and 2-4 inches in diameter) were cut and driven into the eroding bank. These posts have rooted and sprouted new growth to stabilize the bank and form a dense vegetative barrier against erosion. This low-cost method also provides shade and habitat for fish and wildlife.
Dwarf Willow-Two varieties of Dwarf Willow, Bankers Willow and Streamco Willow, offer excellent erosion control. The result is a fast growing erosion control technique without the threat of breakage causing logjams. This practice is best used on relatively small streams or ditches, with lower velocity stream flow.
Native Vegetation-Most streambanks are best protected by leaving the native vegetation on the berm or top of the bank alone. Native trees, shrubs and grasses will form a protective barrier of roots for controlling bank erosion as the leaves serve as protection from rainfall. Grassed Slope-Streambanks are typically excavated to a 1:2 side slope on non-erosive soils. The slopes are then seeded, fertilized and mulched to an erosion resistant grass like Kentucky31 Tall Fescue.
BANK PROTECTION - SITE 2
In the years ahead, Site 2 will stop bank erosion by using instream and streambank deflectors to redirect water flow away from an eroding bank and back into the center of the stream's channel. Through the use of Instream Stone Flow Deflectors, rocks or logs are placed along the streambank to deflect the flow of water away from the eroding bank, allowing it to stabilize naturally by the settlement of suspended sediments. Tree kickers also serve the same purpose.
BANK PROTECTION - SITE 3
On severely eroded banks, sometimes a combination of bank protection techniques are needed to stabilize and restore the streambank. For example, the bank's vertical slope must be pulled back in order for willow posts to be planted. Planting trees on the berm further stabilizes the banks.
BANK PROTECTION - SITE 4
This proposed site will focus on vegetative streambank protection research by constructing a new conservation practice each year. Research conducted at this site will include the experimentation with planting dormant cuttings such as Cottonwood, Green Ash or Dogwood next to willow. Other instream and bank practices will also be used.