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Rice Creek Restoration

Rice Creek Restoration

EOR completed one of the largest stream restoration projects in the Midwest, to-date. Over three-quarters of a mile of Rice Creek, was straightened in the early 1900's to improve agricultural drainage. EOR reconnected this segment of the creek to its natural meandering flow path. EOR developed a $500,000 plan to create a stable channel that supported natural watershed hydrology. The design process estimated that the investment would provide water quality, habitat, and recreational benefits well in excess of the project's cost. After 5 years, the stream channel is successfully stabilized and reconnected to its 200-acre floodplain. Historically abandoned water courses were identified and modified, using soil bioengineering practices, to recreate a stable stream profile, cross-section, and alignment. Monitoring has documented habitat enhancement, including improvements in fish and invertebrate scores (IBI) over pre-construction surveys. The project has become a prominent example of stream restoration and has even spurred interest in establishing a dedicated canoe route along the reconnected channel.

Client Benefits

  • Improved water quality.
  • Improved fish and invertebrate habitat and IBI scores.
  • Education of park users regarding the science and natural course of streams.

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