Managing Stream Corridors / Stream Processes
Stream corridors and floodplains provide naturally beneficial functions with regard to flooding, water quality, habitat, and channel stability. When water is able to overflow its banks and spread out onto the floodplain, the water is slowed down and its energy is dissipated.
An illustrated stream processes guide has been developed to promote improved understanding of natural stream processes and the impacts of human intervention. This award-winning booklet, Stream Processes: A Guide to Living in Harmony With Streams, can be downloaded (large file) or hardcopies obtained by calling STC.
Dredging of streams and rivers is sometimes proposed as a way to address flooding by increasing the size of the channel. Unfortunately, dredging can actually increase flood damage. Learn more from a fact sheet, Dredging: Is it a Good Solution to Flooding Problems? Potential costs associated with unstable streams and suggestions for avoiding these expenses are summarized in: Unstable Streams: What Are the Management Costs? (Lessons Learned from Bradford County, PA).
"Water Needs Room to Move: Why 'Stream Reaming' Isn't a Good Solution to Flooding." This excellent presentation (large file) was developed by the Flood Working Group of the Upper Susquehanna Conservation Alliance. (Open to view the slide show; download and open in PowerPoint to see speaker notes.) Contact STC to request a presentation of this material.
Trees and other woody debris are a natural part of stream systems. When a tree falls into a stream, it breaks up the flow, which can have the beneficial effect of dissipating energy and reducing erosion. However, debris accumulation in stream channels and other drainageways can also contribute to flooding and drainage problems, particularly in developed areas. It is recommended that streams, culverts, and other drainageways be inspected annually and after major storm events. Man-made debris and other material that is likely to contribute to problems can be selectively removed from the channel. Download an information sheet about developing a drainage system maintenance program.