Natural Channel Design
Pictures of the beautiful streams or rivers found throughout West Virginia often bring to mind thoughts of the many recreational opportunities which we are so fortunate to enjoy. When a stream's habitat, water supply or water quality are impacted, the stream's value as a natural and recreational resource is put at risk. Personal property and utilities adjacent to a degraded or eroding stream can also become threatened.
A Better Solution
Natural Channel Design incorporates all aspects of stream function into the design. Bank stability, sediment transport, flood frequency and habitat are each carefully considered when developing a design. By evaluating the dimension, pattern and profile data of a stable natural stream and incorporating that information into a design for an impaired stream, a "naturally" stable stream can be constructed. This stream would have an appropriate width and depth to transport sediment without eroding the stream banks and bed or allowing deposition within the channel as often occurs in "constructed" rip rap channels. The idea is that the stream will be relatively free to adjust and self maintain once construction is completed. Additionally, structures used in natural channel design not only improve bank stability but also improve aquatic habitat.