Impact of bank stabilization structures on upstream and downstream bank mobilization at cedar river, nebraska

Matthew V. Russell, Aaron R. Mittelstet, R. Matthew Joeckel, Jesse T. Korus, Celso F. Castro-Bolinaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of streambank stabilization structures is insufficiently quantified. Although such structures clearly reduce or eliminate streambank erosion at the local scale, little is known about associated effects on unstabilized reaches immediately upstream and downstream. This study measured streambank erosion and deposition in stretches of the Cedar River, 1.5 meander wavelengths upstream and downstream from 24 stabilization structures that included jetties, rock vanes, root wads, and gravel protection. We also measured erosion and deposition on the streambanks directly opposite the stabilized locations. We compared measurements from the pre-stabilization period (1993-2005) with those from the poststabilization period (2005-2018) using historical imagery in ArcGIS. Upon completion of this analysis, we were able to reject an initial hypothesis that local and adjacent streambank segment erosion rates would be significantly less after stabilization, and that deposition rates would be greater in stabilized locations and adjacent stream segments. Instead, the differences in erosion from pre- to post-stabilization showed little or no statistical significance. Rather, our data indicated that streambank erosion decreased in only four of the six stream segments and was predominantly confined to the stabilized segment. Overall deposition decreased in all six stream segments after bank stabilization. In reaches where wooden jetties were installed, partial or total failure was common, and further increases in erosion and decreases in deposition were more pronounced. We conclude that streambank stabilization on the Cedar River is effective only at the location of installation; there is no measurable effect on adjacent unstabilized reaches. Our results demonstrate the need for improved streambank monitoring practices and better understanding of how streambank stabilization impacts an entire river system. Such advances will enhance stream restoration design and implementation, as well as support future river management efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1567
Number of pages13
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adjacent stream reach
  • Deposition
  • Erosion
  • Jetty
  • Streambank stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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