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60 Ways Farmers Can Protect  Surface Water
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24. Control Streambank Erosion With The Willow-post Method

Streambank erosion Streambank erosion occurs whenever the erosive power of a stream or river is so great that it cuts large chunks of soil from the bank.

As the stream cuts deeper into the foot of the bank, the bank is weakened and eventually collapses into the stream.

streambank with willow-post method One of the most economical and effective ways to control streambank erosion on small streams is the willow-post method. It can be installed for only $7 to $15 per foot, as compared to $50 to $200 per foot with more traditional streambank erosion-control methods.
diagram of willow-post method The willow-post method controls streambank erosion through the installation of native willow cuttings to stabilize the bank. The dormant posts spout roots, and this root network binds the soil together, reducing erosion. Cedar trees are attached to the lowest two rows of willow posts to add stability to the lower bank.
streambed with willows The willow-post method has been tested and proven effective in Illinois under flood conditions, even when heavy spring floods carry ice floes. The willows have remained at the water's edge, which is their preferred environment. They have not spread upward into adjacent fields, nor have they clogged the channel.
streambed with erosion To decide if you need to take action to control streambank erosion, make site visits to the creeks that flow through your land. Starting upstream from your property, walk the entire length of the creeks and identify the locations and severity of streambank erosion sites.
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