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Conservation Choices: Stream Bank Protection

Stream Bank Protection

Stream Bank ProtectionWhat it is

Grass, rip rap, or other treatment used to stabilize and protect stream banks from erosion.

How it helps

  • Prevents the loss or damage to land uses or facilities adjacent to stream banks.
  • Helps maintain stream flow capacity.
  • Reduces off site and downstream effects of sediment resulting from bank erosion.
  • Improves and enhances the stream corridor for fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetics, and recreation.

Planning ahead

  • Are proper soil conservation measures installed in the watershed to prevent siltation of buffer zones and stream bed?
  • Will a stream crossing be needed for livestock?

Tech Notes

  • Fence livestock out of the stream.
  • Smooth stream banks to provide an adequate seedbed for vegetation.
  • The vegetation area along stream banks should be between 15 and 25 feet wide.
  • Remove fallen trees, stumps and debris that might cause turbulence in the stream.
  • Remove trees and brush that adversely affect the growth of desirable bank vegetation.
  • Avoid adversely impacting threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
  • Select vegetation best suited for site conditions and achieves the intended purpose.
  • Allow stream flow to access the floodplain.


  • Avoid damaging the buffer zone with herbicides from surrounding cropland.
  • Remove off-stream watering systems in the winter, and reinstall in the spring.
  • Periodically inspect and promptly repair or replace damaged components or erosion.

Iowa Practice Standard