Let the Water Do the Work:
Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels
By Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier
Why a book on induced meandering? So Let the Water Do the Work begins. The simple answer is, Because it works. Specifically, it is a practical, affordable, and simple method that allows the creek, stream, or arroyo to do the work for you. In other words, you partner with Nature. By “thinking like a creek,” you can harness the regenerative power of floods to reshape stream banks and rebuild floodplains along gullied stream channels.
This approach runs counter to the conventional approach to stream restoration because it looks at intentionally eroding selected banks while encouraging the deposit of sediment on evolving floodplains.
The authors of this book, Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier, bring years of experience in this art of riparian restoration. They have worked on projects and taught many workshops and prepared training materials for professionals, laypersons, and volunteers. Moreover, these techniques have now been adopted by federal, state, and tribal agencies, as well as landowners and conservation organizations.
How is this information helpful to Holistic Management practitioners? It’s a valuable tool to consider for your toolbox if you own land on which water runs (which includes everyone from Sidney to Seattle). I was lucky enough to attend an Induced Meandering workshop nearby a couple of years and can still remember the light bulb that went off for me when Bill Zeedyk talked about looking at the land around the stream or creek to see what the water was doing underneath the land, and how the water channel influenced the water table. As a stream bed continues to dig deeper into the land, the lower the water table drops. If you can induce meandering and let sediment build that streambed up, you actually raise the water table and restore floodplains.
Induced meandering reminds me of planned grazing (a technique often used in conjunction) because you are working with Nature to improve the function of the land and water. Planned grazing can really address ineffective water cycle “uphill” of the riparian area. Likewise, in can improve riparian function. But, if you’ve got a severely incised channel with years of damage, induced meandering will create amazing results in a relatively short amount of time—some of the examples in the book show a dramatic difference of restored floodplains in six years.
This book is chockfull of photos of various induced meandering projects with clear delineation of before and after and what was done to create the change. The design, layout, and illustrations are courtesy of Tamara Gadzia, making this book very user friendly. Whether you want to know how to trim pickets or build a one rock dam, there are lots of photos to help you as well as clear instruction. Moreover, there are plenty of forms to help with design, implementation, and monitoring.
Anyone interested in natural resource management will find this book helpful and thought-provoking. To order, go to http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/let_the_water_do_the_work:paperback.