Stream / Channel Re-Alignment

Potential permits required: CWA 404, Threatened & Endangered Species, NHPA, Floodplain


Stream re-alignment involves moving the actual stream channel to a new location. This could be done to restore the channel to a pre- flood location or to protect existing infrastructure or buildings. Benefits include:

• Increased resiliency of the stream
• Protection for threatened infrastructure and/or habitat
• Restored and stabilized eroded areas
• Encourages bank vegetation and habitat
• Takes advantage of existing flow paths

First discussing stream re-alignment with a representative of a local agency may help you determine whether it is the right approach for your property. It also may guide you to some additional funding opportunities as this can be a costly approach to restoration. Once a local agency has helped you out, you will probably need to contact an engineer or landscape architect to evaluate your property.

When approaching stream re-alignment with an outside source, it is important to know where your property lines are and where important infrastructure needs to be protected. It can also help if you know where the stream has historically run through your property. Further information about what you have seen during average daily flows and during large storm events will help the outside sources understand how your stream functions.

Stream re-alignment is a major undertaking that will have a dramatic change on your landscape. Stream re-alignment not only requires permits from federal and local agencies, but also requires careful planning and design to ensure the new alignment works with the natural processes of the stream corridor.

A resilient alignment is achieved through careful consideration of many factors, including slope, bed material and amount of flow during different times of the year. Often, a multi-disciplinary team will combine their areas of expertise to design a complicated project such as stream re-alignment. Stream re-alignment projects can involve a substantial amount of work, and must not cause negative impacts to upstream or downstream property owners.

This stretch of the Little Thompson may need channel re-alignment.

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