Degraded streams are a common sight in urban environments. The banks of the stream are steep, and often times, eroding. When too much sediment makes its way into a stream, it can smother the streams natural aquatic habitats. This kind of degradation can be caused by storm water runoff, loose sediment from the removal of trees or other development activities. This can also be a result of changes to the amount of water the stream is carrying. Streams that are impacted in this way can often only support a few species of fish or aquatic life. Degraded streams result in a decline in water quality over entire watersheds and are unhealthy for recreation and public contact.
Restoring and stabilizing impacted streams requires scientists, engineers, and surveyors who can analyze the watershed where the stream is located and assess the current condition of the stream. Then, based on the results of the analysis, a design is developed to help restore the stream to a more “natural” form. This means that the stream is designed to neither erode the stream channel and banks nor accumulate sediment in the channel over time. During stream restoration, a new stream channel is constructed, a new floodplain is developed, and new vegetation is planted along the stream banks. Stream restoration is intended to re-create the naturally occurring meanders, stabilize soil, and gently sloping stream banks.