Iowa’s River Restoration Toolbox

2020 Toolbox Training Workshop – Clive, IA

Defining the Iowa River Restoration Toolbox

The Toolbox was developed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to assist Iowa designers and reviewers of stream stabilization and restoration projects by providing proven techniques that incorporate natural materials, such as logs, rocks, and live plantings. Among the many techniques included in the Toolbox are: longitudinal peaked stone toe protection, j-hook vanes, rock arch rapids, oxbows, riparian corridor restorations, and tree/shrub plantings. Included are an assessment method and reviewable design checklists to aid in decision making among multidisciplinary teams (i.e. – funding partners, designers, project managers, and contractors etc.). The Toolbox also provides detailed design guidance, drawings and specifications to assist with project bidding.

Toolbox Development

The goal of this resource is to assist design teams with the evaluation of streams and the selection of apply suitable practices that will result in successful projects. Just as important, the Toolbox will prevent the installation of practices that are unsuccessful and destructive to the stability of river ecosystem. A national expert in the design and installation of these practices was hired to research and merge common engineering and restoration practices into useful assessment and design guidance. It was then reviewed and adapted by a statewide team of Iowa engineering, river restoration, project management, and aquatic habitat professionals from various cities, state agencies, federal, and non-governmental organizations with a stake in its development. Efficiencies are anticipated with the use of the Toolbox from inception to permitting, because reviewers can work from generally accepted design assumptions and calculations to support the selected practices.

Why Use the Toolbox?

This resource focuses on natural techniques in streambank stabilization and stream restoration that provide multiple benefits while remaining the most cost-effective options. The Toolbox will help you understand the driving factors that cause an unstable stream segment to erode or damage infrastructure prior to jumping to solutions leads to long-term stable, economically beneficial solutions. It takes the user through the major steps of stream assessment, including field-collected stream survey data, key stream stability issues, and multiple practices and techniques that are appropriate for the type of restoration project. The Iowa DNR State Revolving Fund (SRF) Sponsored Project Program will be requiring its applicants to use the Toolbox to be eligible for the Clean Water Loan Program. Through this program, wastewater utilities can finance and pay for projects, within or outside the corporate limits, that cover best management practices for nonpoint source pollution control.

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