Emory and Henry Stream Stabilization
Carolyn Howard, PE, LEED AP
Located in Southwest Virginia, Emory and Henry College (EHC), a small private college whose entire campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to the Hall Creek basin, part of the Holston River Watershed. Since the college’s founding in 1836, Hall Creek has experienced an increase in periodic flooding and erosion associated with the increased development of the college campus and concurrent changes in land use. Given that Hall Creek runs through the central portion of campus, it impacts numerous campus facilities, and is itself impacted by storm water runoff from adjacent parking lots, road culverts, sidewalks and multiple athletic fields.
Draper Aden Associates utilized several unique and innovative design approaches in the stabilization of the stream banks. First and foremost, Draper Aden Associates incorporated the use of specific natural channel design and re-directive techniques to ease stream bank shear stresses and halt continued erosion. Additionally, the use of stream toe protective features (generally placed close to campus infrastructure that needed extra protection) and hydrophytic vegetative plantings provided additional bank stabilization and toe protection. The techniques and procedures used for this project addressed the long-term stabilization of Hall Creek, visually improved the stream corridor, and provided a cost-effective solution for the client.