Stream Restoration

F. X. Browne, Inc. is a pioneer in the field of bioengineering and stream restoration, and has been helping communities restore streams for over 25 years, from fixing small streambank erosion problems to large-scale channel restoration. We have designed numerous bioengineering stabilization projects using vegetative methods to stabilize eroding streambanks and shorelines and to create and enhance wildlife habitat.  We apply fluvial geomorphology and hydraulic principles to integrate individual treatments into an overall, cohesive design.

F. X. Browne, Inc. has developed GIS databases of remotely-sensed and field-collected stream assessment data.  These database systems allow quick retrieval of information concerning the condition and level of impairment of major stream segments, minor stream segments, and reaches.  F. X. Browne, Inc. has developed prioritization strategies to be used in conjunction with stream assessment databases.  These strategies allow the user to rank stream reaches in order of restoration priority, risk of degradation, or habitat value.  This system allows for the establishment of long-term restoration implementation plans and the most effective use of restoration funds.

Text Box: Installed rock vane,
Monroe County, Pennsylvania

 

 

Text Box: Bioengineering installation, East Branch Wallenpaupack Creek

 

Representative Projects 

White Clay Restoration Project, Chester County, PA 

Cooks Creek Restoration Project, Bucks County, PA

Bushkill Creek Stream Rehabilitation Project, Northampton County, PA 

Teedyskung Creek Stream Corridor Restoration, Pike County, PA

East Branch Perkiomen Creek Streambank Stabilization, Bucks County, PA

South Branch Tunkhannock Creek Restoration, Lackawanna County, PA

Additional Clients
 

 

Initially, we use Rosgen geomorphic assessment and classification and a thorough understanding of the science of fluvial geomorphology to understand the behavior of a stream, diagnose problems, and develop solutions.  We then use natural channel design procedures to develop regional curves and collect reference reach data for each project. These data form the basis for creating stable, functional stream channels.  We then use hydraulic modeling data to design appropriate individual treatments and structures.  Our designs are structurally sound, yet maximize the use of natural materials and native plants to achieve stabilization and habitat enhancement.

Our designs are successful in part because they are based on comprehensive geomorphic and hydraulic assessments, and in part because we listen carefully to the needs and objectives of our clients. We help our clients through all phases of a restoration project.  Once the detailed design is complete, we prepare all needed permit applications, prepare contract and bidding documents, and provide construction observation services, on-going monitoring, and as-built surveys.

F. X. Browne, Inc. staff presents workshops around the country in stream restoration.  Often, these workshops are attended by other consultants who wish to increase their understanding of the current techniques and methodology.

F. X. Browne, Inc. performs a variety of stream restoration projects using various design approaches, including:

  • Natural Channel Design
  • Soil Bioengineering
  • In-Stream Habitat

Natural Channel Design 

Natural channel design is a complex, and often misapplied practice that has tremendous potential for restoring streams that display a fundamental disequilibrium, and a tremendous potential for failure if not applied correctly.  Throughout the last several years, F. X. Browne, Inc. has worked on numerous natural channel design projects throughout Pennsylvania. During that time, we have developed an integrated approach to channel design that goes far beyond the capabilities of most firms that engage in this type of work.  Consequently, our record of success and client satisfaction on natural channel design projects is superior. 

Rigorous data collection and analysis is one of the keys to our design approach.  This includes conducting a complete Level IV Rosgen Geomorphic Assessment of the restoration reach and areas immediately upstream and downstream of the restoration reach.  We also develop a complete hydraulic model of the restoration reach using HEC-RAS.  Further, we conduct an exhaustive evaluation of all factors that may influence the design, permitting, bidding, and construction of the project including:

  • Soil type
  • FEMA flood hazard areas
  • Surficial and bedrock geology
  • Potential construction access routes
  • Source, type, and extent of upstream watershed disturbance
  • Potential material staging areas
  • Bank stability
  • Erosion and sediment control concerns
  • Riparian buffer characteristics
  • Cultural and historical features
  • Existing utilities
  • Threatened and endangered species
  • Regulated wetlands
 

Identifying potential concerns early in the design process prevents permitting and construction delays and cost over runs. 

Another critical element of our design approach is careful selection of the design reference reach.  This requires a complete understanding of physical watershed characteristics, watershed hydrology, and the hydraulic and geomorphic characteristics of the restoration area.  We use a state-of-the-art Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database to screen for potential reference reaches based on a number of factors including:

·        Rosgen stream type

·        Land use patterns

·        Stream slope

·        Presence of structures or impoundments

·        Valley slope

·        Physiographic province

·        Watershed disturbance history

·        Sub ecoregion

We then conduct detailed field assessments of reference reach candidates to select the final reference reach for the project. 

Another hallmark of our design approach is working closely with the stakeholders and partners in the project including the client, funding organization, permitting agencies, landowners, and cooperating partners.  Bringing these groups into the design process early in the project is critical to achieving a consensus design that fits the needs of each group to the extent possible.
 

Soil Bioengineering 

F. X. Browne, Inc. combines thorough site assessment techniques with advanced hydraulic modeling to design soil bioengineering streambank stabilization systems for a wide-range of applications.  Our experienced team of restoration professionals can handle all aspects of your bioengineering project from project conception to detailed design, permitting, bidding, construction supervision, and post-construction monitoring.  Our design philosophy emphasizes the creation of natural streambanks that provide the complete spectrum of habitat, aesthetic, and erosion control functions.  During our design process, F. X. Browne, Inc. conducts in-depth appraisals of bank erosion severity, hydraulic stress, construction constraints, regulatory requirements, and environmental site characteristics including soil moisture, slope, and light availability.  Our designs benefit from 25 years of project experience with the full-range of bioengineering techniques including live staking, live fascines, tree revetments, branch packing, vegetated geogrids, willow posts, live crib walls and brush mattressing.  F. X. Browne, Inc. designs feature customized native seed and planting plans and state-of-the-art erosion control products.
 

In-stream Habitat Enhancement 

Whether a component of a natural channel design or soil bioengineering project or a stand-alone project, F. X. Browne, Inc.’s team of restoration designers provide in-stream habitat enhancement solutions for a wide-variety of project applications.  From project feasibility studies to long-term post-construction monitoring, F. X. Browne, Inc. provides the complete range of professional engineering services for all of our habitat enhancement projects. Our design approach combines an evaluation of channel geomorphology, hydraulics, and site constraints to develop customized in-stream habitat enhancement designs.  Our designs use a myriad of in-stream structures including rock vanes, j-hook rock vanes, LUNKERS, cross vanes, log and stone deflectors, plunge pools, root wad revetments, and placed boulders.

 

Stream Corridor Assessment                       

F. X. Browne, Inc. staff has used a wide variety of geomorphic and habitat-based assessment techniques to identify and prioritize stream restoration targets, provide baseline habitat inventories, and assess the effectiveness of river restoration programs. 

We take advantage of a full suite of remote sensing technologies to analyze broad-scale patterns in landuse, valley morphology, and stream type.  For example, during our initial assessment work for many of our projects we use aerial photographs and digital elevation models to determine Rosgen Level I classifications for large river segments.  We combine the stream type analysis with an analysis of landuse patterns to develop a list of “most probably impacted” and “most at-risk” stream segments.  Using this approach, we can identify and prioritize large river segments for more detailed assessment work. 

Our field assessments are tailored to the specific objectives of our clients. In several instances we have developed customized assessment protocols to address the specific objectives of the particular project.  Our staff is familiar with and has implemented Rosgen Level II, III, and IV geomorphic assessment and classification, NRCS Stream Visual Assessment Protocol, EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocol, and other hybrid assessment techniques.  We follow the U.S. Forest Service protocol for establishing stream channel reference sites.  Our reach-level field assessment work in previous projects has included: 

          ●     Rosgen Level II, III and IV geomorphic assessment and classification
          ●     Macroinvertebrate sampling, identification, and IBI metric determination
          ●     Electroshocking and fish community IBI determination
          ●     Periphyton sampling
          ●     Macrophyte surveys
         
●     Visual assessment techniques
         
●     Riparian plant community analysis
         
●     Benthic sediment particle size analysis
         
●     Erosion problem inventories
         
●     Restoration potential evaluations 

F. X. Browne, Inc. has developed GIS databases of remotely-sensed and field-collected assessment information.  These database systems allow quick retrieval of information concerning the condition and level of impairment of major stream segments, minor stream segments, and reaches.  F. X. Browne, Inc. has developed prioritization strategies to be used in conjunction with stream assessment databases.  These strategies allow the user to rank stream reaches in order of restoration priority, risk of degradation, or habitat value.  This system allows for the establishment of long-term restoration implementation plans and the most effective use of restoration funds.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or problems with this site, please email:
info@fxbrowne.com