Impaired Stream Restoration
Methodist University, Stream Restoration
The impaired stream on the Methodist University campus drains 227 acres of urban watershed toward the Cape Fear River. The 2,300-foot reach of impaired stream to be restored is currently degraded with incised channel and eroding streambanks due to headcutting following the failure of a downstream earthen dam embankment. Streambank erosion is currently estimated at approximately 1,000 tons per year based upon field assessment of streambank and hydraulic conditions. The landowner is committed to restoring the stream channel and floodplain ecosystem to a natural equilibrium condition with healthy riparian buffer to be protected by a permanent conservation easement. The restoration project will create natural habitat conditions in the restored stream system in addition to eliminating downstream sediment loading to the Cape Fear River.
The restored stream will have natural channel dimension, pattern, profile, substrate and vegetation based on reference stream data in the watershed. The stream will be connected to the surrounding forested floodplain using a combination of both “Priority One” and “Priority Two” approaches of grading the floodplain so that bankfull stage (incipient flooding) is at the elevation of the newly graded floodplain terrace with sufficient floodprone area width to dissipate hydraulic energy during bankfull and greater flood events. This geomorphic condition will be sustained by increasing sinuosity to reduce stream slope, thereby reducing bankfull shear stress and velocity. The streambed will be supplemented with natural riffles and cascades including rock and logs for habitat diversity and grade control. The streambanks and surrounding floodplain will be planted extensively with native riparian vegetation.
APWA North Carolina Natural Systems, 2021 Project of the Year