Stream Bank Stabilization

Like many other urban streams, Bassett Creek has problems associated with erosion, sedimentation, and pollution caused by stormwater runoff. Without stream restoration projects, water quality is diminished within Bassett Creek and downstream water bodies such as the Mississippi River and Lake Pepin.

The City of Golden Valley works with the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission (BCWMC) to stabilize the stream banks and protect water quality. Each year, City Public Works staff walk along Bassett Creek and its tributaries to identify areas of erosion, sediment deposition, obstructions, and utility structures in need of repair. The City then works with the BCWMC to plan and implement projects that will address the problems. The projects are funded by the BCWMC, and there are no assessments to adjacent property owners.

Ongoing Bassett Creek Stabilization Projects

Completed Projects

How Stream Bank Stabilization Works

Stream bank stabilization often combines the use of “hard-armored” stone with "softer” vegetative practices to create buffer zones along the creek. Riprap and boulders stabilize stabilize the soils and filter pollutants with the help of native vegetation like trees, shrubs, perennial grasses, wildflowers, and shoreline and wetland plants. Instead of scouring the eroded banks and carrying sediment and pollutants downstream, a stabilized Bassett Creek will retain its natural bends and pools, preserving property, aesthetics, and fish and wildlife habitat.

Stream Bank Stabilization Techniques

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+Stream Bank Shaping

after stream bank shapingbefore Stream bank shaping

Stream bank shaping flattens stream banks to a 3:1 slope, which reduces potential for erosion and provides a slope that can be vegetated. The photos show the same bank along Bassett Creek before and after stream bank shaping.

+Fieldstone Riprap and Boulders

fieldstone rip rapfieldstone boulders

Fieldstone riprap and boulders protect the toe of a stream bank by keying stones into the streambed and extending them to the top of bank. They are used in conjunction with plantings on upper banks and are especially effective in heavily shaded areas. Riprap stones range in size from 12 to 18 inches, boulders from 30 to 42 inches.



Bio-logs and 12-inch fieldstone riprap are placed together along the toe of stream bank for stabilization. The natural fibers of the bio-log allow vegetation to grow within.

+Vegetated Reinforced Slope Stabilization

vegetated reinforced slope stabilization vegetated reinforced slope stabilization

Vegetated reinforced slope stabilization combines rock geosynthetics and plantings to stabilize steep and eroding slopes. The quick growing vegetation provides root structure to stabilize the bank. The photo on the left shows the stepped plantings before growth began. The second photo shows the same stepped plantings with new growth.

+Cross Vanes

cross vanes

Cross vanes dissipate erosive velocities within the creek by directing the main flow to the center of stream. They consist of boulders and fieldstone that extend across the creek and into each bank.

+Rock Vanes

rock vanesRock vane

Rock vanes direct flow away from stream banks and encourage sediment to deposit between the vane and the bank. They typically occupy one-third of the channel width, are oriented upstream, and consist of boulders and fieldstone embedded into the stream bank.

+Live Stakes

live stakes

Live stakes are planted on the stream bank during spring and fall. They are typically willow and dogwood, which grow quickly to establish woody vegetation.

+Live Fascines

live fascines

Live fascines are bundled mixes of branches from 8 to 10 feet long placed along the toe of the stream bank to establish woody vegetation. They are often used in conjunction with other stream bank stabilization methods.

+Root Wads

root wads

Root wads provide a way to reuse trees removed during the project. The trunk of the tree is buried into the stream bank, with the root ball sticking out into the stream. The remaining log is used as a footer along with boulders to stabilize the root wad. Root wads provide wildlife habitat and energy dissipation along the creek.