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STREAMBANK STABILIZATION

One of the main concerns for property owners along streams and watercourses, is the loss of land due to stream bank erosion. This concern is common to municipalities, agricultural producers and individual landowners.

Every municipality in Ulster County maintains roads that are in close proximity to streams. Many homeowner backyards are also adjacent to streams. Both of these groups have vested economic and safety considerations which compel them to protect their lands. Farm income and viability is dependent upon maintaining productivity. Any loss of crop or grazing land or top soil is an obvious detriment to their operation.

The Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District, along with the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service and many other partners, also share these concerns. Streambank instability not only creates economic and safety concerns, but also threatens water quality due to elevated turbidity levels. Water that is highly turbid impairs both the quality of drinking water and aquatic habitat. Excessive turbidity also contributes to additional stream instability via the buildup of sediment and other deposition which adversely impacts the overall hydrology and transportive capacity of the stream channel.

The District is available to provide evaluations and technical recommendations which will provide assistance, and in many situations, help to facilitate the permitting process. In many cases, a permit is required to work in and along stream banks by both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and United States Army Corps of Engineers.

In addition, if the area to be disturbed exceeds one acre in size, the proposed work will also require an erosion and sediment control plan (See link for Erosion and Sediment Control). The District can provide sketches and nationally recognized engineering standards and specifications which can be submitted along with permit applications which address both stabilization and construction issues relating to erosion and sediment control.

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