The Strodes Creek Conservancy and the City of Winchester is so proud of the recent restoration of a large segment of Town Branch, a tributary of Strodes Creek. The Town Branch restoration project is the largest natural channel design project that has ever taken place in Clark County.
Natural channel design can be best defined as incorporating naturally occurring stream processes during a restoration project to an extent that will allow the stream to stabilize and provide maximum biological potential. The following components are part of natural channel design.
Natural channel designs put meanders back in creeks to help slow down the water velocity during rain events, which helps eliminate scouring of vegetation and erosion of the streambank.
Floodplains are created to give water a place to go during the big storm events.
Abundant amounts of stream vegetation are placed in the stream to filter nutrients and sediments, slow down the water, and provide habitat for aquatic organisms.
Riffles and pools are created for the aquatic organisms in the stream.
Varying types of stream floor substrates are created to encourage different biological habitats. Fish and macroinvertebrates like pebbles and another substrate in which to imbed.
Unfortunately, many of our streams have been scoured and eroded to the extent that the current stream floor substrate is generally bedrock. See Figure 1 for a diagram of a cross-section of a natural channel or two-stage design.