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Design of Erosion Control Measures For
Small Channels

Presented by:

Jerry Michel, P.E.

Definition and Purpose

Lined channels convey surface water from erodible
areas and discharge to stable water courses

Water is conveyed in a controlled manner

Properly designed lined channels preserve the
integrity of stream channels into which water
discharges. Channels themselves do not become an
erosion problem.



Applications of Lined Channels
Lined channels may be utilized in the following areas or

Areas that are susceptible to erosion where
vegetation is difficult to establish

High velocity areas, which may include moderate or
steep slopes

Below steep grades where runoff begins to

At the top of slopes to divert flows from adjacent or
undisturbed slopes

At bottom and mid-slope locations to intercept sheet
flow and convey concentrated flows

Materials for Lined Channels
Five Common Materials

Unlined – establish vegetation

Erosion control mats (ECM), such as straw blankets,
jute mats, and coconut mats

Turf reinforcement mats (TRM), such as synthetic
erosion control mats and revegetation mats

Riprap, either placed or grouted.

Hard linings, such as asphalt or concrete



• Seed. or use sod pieces.9/6/2012 Materials for Lined Channels Five Common Materials Unlined channels – no specific lining is used. • Good for low. in dry areas. intermittent flows. • Can use temporary lining to allow vegetation to establish (climate dependent). 5 Unlined vegetated channel 6 3 . Establish vegetation as erosion control.

9/6/2012 Materials for Lined Channels Five Common Materials Erosion Control Mats (ECM) – flexible lining • Temporary erosion control (10 to 36 months) • Composed of natural and polymeric fibers bound together to form a mat. and coconut mats • This type of mat is intended to decompose as vegetation establishes. jute mats. 7 Erosion control blanket 8 4 . • Typical ECMs include straw blankets.

• This type of mat can decompose and degrade. or can install and then seed. TRM is also stiffer. thicker. • Voids fill with soil and allow root systems to establish. and more dense than ECM. nettings. 9 Turf reinforcement mat 10 5 . or wire mesh bound together to form a matrix. filaments. but generally lasts longer than ECM.9/6/2012 Materials for Lined Channels Five Common Materials Turf Reinforcement Mat (TRM) – flexible lining • Can be temporary erosion control or long term erosion control • Composed of synthetic fibers. • Can seed and then install.

9/6/2012 Materials for Lined Channels Five Common Materials Rock riprap – hard. rigid lining • Can be applied by hand or by equipment as loose rock. 11 Riprap channel 12 6 . durable. • Can be enclosed in wire containers (gabion boxes or reno mattresses) • Rock can be grouted to provide additional erosion control. angular rock .

rigid lining • The most resistant to erosion of all five materials • Need equipment to provide • May need special foundation underneath to prevent upheaval .9/6/2012 Materials for Lined Channels Five Common Materials Concrete lining – hard. durable surface. • May be more expensive than other materials 13 Concrete lined channel 14 7 .

9/6/2012 Design Considerations • Existing vegetation • Flow velocities • Erodible soils • Channel slopes 15 Design Considerations Existing vegetation • Sparse or lush vegetation? • Climate dependent 16 8 .

9/6/2012 Design Considerations Flow Velocities • High velocities or low velocities? • Uniform or non-uniform flows? • Accelerated or decelerated flows? • Hydraulic jumps. backwater 17 Design Considerations Erodible Soils • Can existing soils withstand anticipated flows? • Shear stresses on existing soils? • Related to revegetation 18 9 .

9/6/2012 Permissible Velocities by Soil Type Soil Type Fine Sand Coarse Sand Fine Gravel Sandy Silt Silty Clay Permissible Velocity (fps.Poor Rock .5 Clay Grass-lined earth Rock . shear stresses affected by stream slope 20 10 . or steep? • Flow velocities.) 2 4 6 2 3.Good 6 5-7 3-10 20 19 Design Considerations Channel Slopes • Is the channel slope mild. moderate.

9/6/2012 Mild Slope Channel Moderate Slope Channel 21 22 11 .

9/6/2012 Moderate Slope Channel Steep Slope Channel 23 24 12 .

Vegetation Only ECM TRM Hard linings Asphalt. concrete Special designs 2 .5% 5 – 8% >8% 25 26 13 .9/6/2012 Steep Slope Channel Erosion Control Type Based on Channel Slope Channel Slope Erosion Control Type < 2% Unlined Ditch. riprap.

may need special design • Consider maintenance issues when designing ditch (mowing) • If near a highway. may need to utilize permissible velocity and tractive force methods • Determine existence of vegetation and ability to establish • Evaluate channel slope • Follow product guidelines and manufacturer’s recommendations • If a large drainage area is drained. evaluate clear zone requirements 28 14 .9/6/2012 Design Guidelines 27 Design Guidelines • Evaluate soils for erodibility.

9/6/2012 Related Issues and Considerations • Sedimentation • Energy dissipation • Regulatory Issues 29 Sedimentation • Ditches should not be used as sediment traps • Can use ditch blocks to control sediment in the ditch itself • Can discharge sediment into a separate sediment trapping device. such as a sediment pond 30 15 .

9/6/2012 Berms using straw bales Earth ditch berms 31 32 16 .

stilling basin. • Riprap basins can be used for smaller flows at channel outlets • Larger flows at outlets may require a HEC-14 basin design.9/6/2012 Dedicated Sediment Basin                          33 Energy Dissipation • Energy dissipation may be required in a lined channel or at the outlet of a lined channel • Flows can be diverted with ditch blocks and culverts at intermediate locations along the channel. or other special designs 34 17 .

9/6/2012 Ditch block to divert flows to a cross drain Riprap Apron 35 36 18 .

9/6/2012 Riprap Apron                                        37 Riprap Apron as Gabion 38 19 .

9/6/2012 Possible treatment:  Riprap Stilling Basin                                   39 Hec-14 stilling basin 40 20 .

9/6/2012 Concrete Apron Energy Dissipation in a Channel 41 42 21 .

S.9/6/2012 Regulatory Issues and Permitting • Under nationwide 404 permitting guidelines. must be natural and biodegradable. used in or adjacent to waters of the U. erosion control materials. • Synthetic and UV stabilized mesh are not allowed 43 Case Study 44 22 . including ECMs and TRMs.

Nov. 2. Montana Dept. 2007 46 23 .9/6/2012 Roadside Drainage Issue 45 References 1. of Transportation. Permanent Erosion Control and Sediment Control Design Guidelines. Design of Riprap Revetment 3. Design and Performance. Clark and Lake. Construction Site Erosion and Sediment Controls: Planning. Hec – 15.