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    FUN FACT: BMP: Boulder Clusters - What is it???

    Watch Your Dirt Fun Fact of the Week!!!

    Boulder Clusters are one of the Best Management Practices used out in the field today!

    Boulder clusters are simple, natural-looking features that add visual diversity and habitat to degraded, uniform reaches. Consequences of failure are generally slight.

    What are Boulder Clusters?

    Boulder Clusters are large rocks placed strategically in a stream either one itself or in groups to protect eroding banks and provide instream cover for the organisms of the river. Natural streams with beds coarser than gravel often feature large roughness elements like boulders that provide hiding cover and velocity shelters for fish and other aquatic organisms. If a constructed or modified channel lacks such features, adding boulder clusters may be an effective and simple way to improve aquatic habitat.

    What are the benefits of using Boulder Clusters?

    Boulder clusters provide hiding cover and velocity shelters for fish through the turbulence found in their wakes. They also provide stony substrate for attachment-type macroinvertebrates. If bed material is fine enough for scour to occur, boulders also develop stable pool habitat and physical diversity associated with a range of depths, velocities, and bed material sizes. Boulder clusters can make a relocated or reconstructed channel look more natural and add visual interest to an otherwise uniform view. If desirable, boulder clusters may be configured to trap woody debris and provide additional cover benefits. Boulder clusters provide fish rearing habitat, and areas for adult fish. 

    What type of "boulder" should be used?

    The boulders should be found along the surrounding watershed - as raw as you can find them! Or if boulders are not available, imported boulders should resemble native materials. Irregular-shaped angular boulders of durable rock are preferred, although some installations have been done with gabions and other man-made materials. Gabions and similar devices are aesthetically inferior and eventually fail due to abrasion, corrosion or vandalism. Boulders may be placed using a large excavator with a thumb, or other heavy equipment.


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    Also, for infomation on our BMP publications, software, and case studies - plus how to get your hands on one

    check out our store here @ our WatchYourDirtStore !!!


    Thank for reading and see you next week 

    - The Dirt Time Team


    Fun Facts: Coconut Fiber Rolls


    A Watch Your Dirt Fun Fact of the Week!!!

    Coconut Fiber Rolls are a specific type of fascine/bundle/wattle.

    These rolls are typically placed alongside stream banks and are flexible enough to follow the bank curvature.

    Coconut Fiber Rolls are also called Coir rolls, fiberschines, reed rolls, fiber logs, coir geotextile rolls, coir fascines.


    What are Fiber Rolls?

    Fiber rolls are manufactured, elongated cylindrical structures that are placed at the toe of a streambank. They are typically made of coconut husk fibers bound together with a geotextile netting. The external binding or netting forms a type of open weave "sock" that contains and provides some shape to the internal mass of fiber husks (see Figure 1). When natural, coconut, or coir fabric is used for this purpose the fiber rolls are usually referred to as coir rolls or "fiberschines". These coir rolls are typically manufactured in 35 cm or 40 cm (12 in or 18 in) diameters and lengths of 6 m (20 ft). They are staked or otherwise anchored in place at the toe of a streambank, generally at the stream-forming flow stage within a zone of perennial growth.

     What are the benefits of utilizing Coconut Fiber Rolls?

    They help establish healthy riparian habitat conditions that will provide cover. Individual stems or clumps of various sizes and types of reed grass, sedges, and bulrushes can be inserted into and around the fiber roll. Coconut fiber rolls do not intrude visually; they provide a soft, natural boundary to a river's edge.

    What is the purpose of implementing Coconut Fiber Rolls into plans?

     Coconut fiber rolls are placed at the bottom of streambanks to help prevent scour and erosion. They are used to provide channel and shoreline stabilization in areas of low to moderate shear stress. They act as a type of "soft" toe armor and encourage the growth of vegetation. A "soft toe" will function and endure on the insides of meanders, and in tangent zones that are beyond the influences of a channel bend. Vegetative establishment in and around the fiber roll increases surface roughness, slows water velocity, and causes sediment to drop out and accrete at the toe. This system is quite flexible and can conform to existing curvature of a streambank.

    For more information on BMPs and Watch Your Dirt Facts, please subscribe to our page here!

    Also, for more information on our BMP publications per Erosion Control and Streambank Stabilization, as well as efficient case study projects - please visit our store @ !!!


    Thanks for reading!

    - The Dirt Time Team


    An Excerpt from Bioengineering Case Studies : Stafford Slide

    Bioengineering Case Studies - by Wendi Goldsmith, Donald Gray, and our very own John McCullah, presents a range of well-documented case studies on key techniques and best practices for bio-stabilization projects. This publication also emphasizes evaluation and comparison of different techniques and challenges across a wide range of project types and geographies!

    Here is an excerpt from Bioengineering Case Studies with a quick look inside the book!


     This is another great Chapter from recently published Bioengineering Case Studies: Sustainable Stream Bank and Slope Stabilization. For more information on the compilation, including details on the authors AND how to order please see to:

    We now offer this brillant book in an ebook format!


    John's on his way home!

    He sent us a message as well:

    "See the two excavators working on other side of bank?
    They are preparing the tieback for Bendway Weir.

    There is a wide bend with Pump House on inner bend, which at 5000 cfs, directs flows to outer bend.  This is what blew out the Gabions by causing an “end run”.  So the Bendway will redirect the thalweg back into center of the new Newbury Riffle.  

    We showed the construction folks new and cost effective construction techniques also.  We finally managed to get a loader on the job which really speeded up production.  Excavators are much more productive if they can sit and have rock delivered.

    It rained cats and doggies the last day I was there.  The river got about 3 ft higher in few hours.  Quite a challenge to cross since rock is on left bank and Bendway is on right bank!!

    The Job is about 1/2 done, we placed almost 3000 T of the 6000 T needed.

    Great to be heading home after two weeks in Northern Malaysia - taming the Pedu River! Made a lot of new friends, many challenges, so hot and humid sometimes I thought I would burst and then 6" of rain in an hour. Lots of typical "construction challenges " too!

    Brought new technology and new techniques - all well received. They threw a going away party for me yesterday, I felt the love!"


    Monday Morning Update from John!

    "[Finally] getting some rock delivered now, though we are still behind schedule.  Quite a weekend here, no work on Friday - but Saturday and Sunday very productive (in terms of placing rock for Newbury Riffle).  Punctuated by huge afternoon thunder storms.  Must have rained at least 6 inches in an hour this afternoon!!
    We are about 1/3 complete, you can see if look carefully the riffle toe downstream and the crest now built upstream.  The crest and middle of weir will come up about another meter.
    I'm teaching a course for area engineers on Tuesday morning, then a field trip out to the site.  Wedensday morning will be my last day as I fly out from KL on Thursday.  
    In meantime Ill layout everything conceivable to guys and they can finish without me."