Potential permits required: CWA 404, Threatened & Endangered Species, Floodplain
A root wad is a bank stabilization and aquatic habitat improvement strategy that involves burying a dead tree into the streambank with the root system still attached. Benefits of installing root wads include:
• Bank stability
• Fish habitat
• Insect habitat
Root wads anchored into the streambank mimic what naturally occurs along streams after floods. Floods often leave behind large woody material that is partially buried into the stream channel. These provide shelter and habitat for fish and insects. If anchored properly, they provide bank stabilization and create changes in water flows.
During floods, structures in floodplains could become destroyed and swept downstream, which could lead to additional hazardous debris that could pose threats, clog crossings or cause damage to existing infrastructure.By working with outside help to engineer and design root wads in key locations, you can stabilize your streambanks while creating valuable aquatic habitat. Root wads can often be combined with log toes and streambank vegetation such as willow stakes.
For root wad projects, outside consultants will help you by engineering and designing a project that will not impact the stream, floodplain or ecosystems in negative ways. They should also help guide you through the permitting processes for the design and construction of the project.
Before contacting the outside help, consider if you have large woody material that can be used for the project already on your property. You can also think about if it would make sense to install log toes with the root wads. When you speak with the consultants, they can provide you with advice and reasoning for the final placement and design.