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Sucker Brook Channel Stabilization and Natural Channel Design

 

Williston, Vermont

In the mid 1980s, a high flow event re-routed Sucker Brook out of its channel, away from a 25-ft waterfall, through an abandoned sand and gravel pit and traversed exposed sand, silts, and clays. Over the next twenty years, the channel steadily eroded with distinct headcuts progressing upstream. Approximately 72,000 cubic yards of material were transported downstream, leaving a steep, unstable channel at the bottom of a 40-ft gully. Vermont River Management called the Sucker Brook Tributary the worst channel avulsion in the State.

Project objectives were to reduce sediment loading from the reach, minimize construction and maintenance costs, and restore aquatic and riparian habitat. Regulators from the Vermont River Management Program and the US Army Corps of Engineers were kept informed of design considerations.

An evaluation matrix compared alternatives in terms of reduction in sediment loading, long-term stability, construction and maintenance costs, in-stream and riparian habitat, and impact to adjacent landowners. Presentation of alternatives at public meetings facilitated input and the concurrence of stakeholders and adjacent landowners.

Final design included a step-pool reach with eight stone weirs and a detailed planting plan to restore the riparian zone. A two-year construction sequence was developed that recognized limited construction funding and included volunteer labor to accomplish the planting program.

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  • Sucker Brook Sucker Brook
  • Sucker Brook Sucker Brook
  • Sucker Brook Sucker Brook
  • Sucker Brook Sucker Brook

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