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Tree removal criteria

Engineer

Engineer

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May 15, 2001
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I'm doing a streambank stabilization project in Ohio that will require some tree removal along a riverbank. Some trees must be removed for the work, and others will be removed because of their condition. I'm looking for some criteria for deciding when to remove a generally healthy tree. Generally, our client has been removing trees on the bank that lean more than 45 degrees. However, I think that is a little too arbitrary. I'm more concerned about undermining from the river, etc. It's necessary to remove trees that may soon fall into the river and cause an obstruction. Any input would be appreciated.
 
Deere John

Deere John

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I attended a "working with Water" conference last year. Fish habitat is comprised of large woody debris that falls into the water. As and engineer, I don't have to tell you that the debris also serves to take some of the energy out of the moving water, and prevent erosion by natural forces. In one project, volunteers actually carted material into the stream, to produce their objectives.

I don't know your goals or situation, but I would be reluctant to cut any trees, as living trees stabilize the streambank and provide shade needed to keep the water cool for fish and other critters, while the dead woody debris recrutement is good for fish and removing energy at times of higher water.

Hydrology is a complex science, and the trees are only a part of the water-control puzzle. hope this helps.
 
Deere John

Deere John

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Flattery will get you .... more answers. I dug up my conference notes and:

Streams should be allowed to narrow as (as opposed to become broader) under their own devices.

Cedar, larch, willow and other hydrophyllic (water lovin') plants should be encouraged to grow to stabilize the banks.

Allow logjams to form on the outside bends of the corners, but do not allow total cross-stream log jams to form, as they lead to bank blowouts and further widening.

The riffles and pools that make up a stream are very important to the life in the stream. The worst thing (i.e. what was done in the 70's) is to straighten a stream and line it with concrete or other man-made structures, removing riffles and pools.

The meanders of a stream allow a river to dissipate energy (slope = rise/run lessons, so the longer the distance, the more time the energy has to do the work contained in the water.) I said to consult a hydrologist I think. The correct professional to consult would be a hydro-geo-morphologist.
 
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