A riverbank erosion control method with environmental value
Bariteau et al. 2013 – Ecological Engineering 58 (2013) 384– 392
Thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the physical environment and strong grasp of the erosion process, geomorphologists can address a range of erosion problems using tailored, effective solutions that are often less costly and less intrusive than traditional methods.
For example, as part of a major shoreline stabilization program (55 km of protected shoreline) introduced by Hydro-Québec in the 1990s, Poly-Géo helped develop an innovative protection method using an eco-friendly approach (minimal shoreline intervention, natural vegetation regeneration). Twenty years after the program ended, the effectiveness of the method was evaluated, with the results of the follow-up published in a scientific journal in 2013 (in collaboration with Hydro-Québec and SNC-Lavalin).
The protection method involved installing natural granular fill (sand, gravel and rounded pebbles) at the foot of the riverbanks, with no need for deforestation or bank reprofiling. The banks soon acquired a natural, gently sloping profile and plants gradually recolonized the shore and riverbanks. Some 20 years later, the structures have completely halted erosion and blend into the local landscape, supporting a new, diversified riparian ecotone composed of native species. The method offers an attractive alternative to traditional rockfill and bioengineering techniques.