Streambank Stabilization and Riparian Buffer on Eased Land

After years of planning, streambank stabilization of the West Branch Delaware River in Hamden, New York,  is underway. The site is a major drainage area in the headwaters of the Delaware River system. In 1997 work was completed to aide streambank stabilization, including willow plantings and concrete slabs. After the flood of 2006, it was apparent that the stream banks had been eroded significantly and were in dire need of repair.

Funding was received from Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection to design and build a project to control the erosion. The project was considered necessary to avoid the cost associated with mitigating the effect of the sediment introduced to the system. 6,500 yards of material has been lost in the last four years alone, including 2,000 pounds of Phosphorus, which is detrimental to water quality.

The proposal was to construct an armored bank with rip rap approximately 6 feet high and with a 3 feet deep toe along the eroding stream bank for approximately 450 feet. Upon completion a 100’ riparian buffer will be planted along the stream bank. New York City Department of Environmental Protection will now fund the project as a demonstration project through their contract with Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District (DCSWCD).

The DCSWCD Stream Corridor Management Team worked closely with WAC Easement Stewardship Team throughout the process of this project as one of the properties involved also holds a WAC agricultural easement. Easement Stewardship often requires the WAC Stewardship Team to play the role of facilitator for the approval process for reserved rights.

Reserved rights are activities on eased properties that require advance approval from the Easement Committee. Reserved rights allow landowners to realize opportunities for aesthetics, recreation, living amenities and working lands economic initiatives. The most common reserved right requests on WAC eased lands include commercial timber harvesting, bluestone mining, and stream work.

Aerial Photos by Pete Steenland, all other photos by Heather Magnan.