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Post-Flood Stream Reconstruction

Guidelines and Best Practices

Post-Flood Stream Repair Guidelines

DEC has developed guidelines to assist with stream repairs, or "interventions," after a major storm. This includes priority repairs when public health and safety are immediately threatened, such as removing flood debris from plugged culvert pipes and bridges; opening up clogged stream channels; repairing or replacing critical infrastructure; and reopening roads.

Educational Materials for Landowners

See the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District's publication "Life at the Water's Edge - Living in harmony with your backyard streams" and other informative publications. Use the link to the Cuyahoga SWCD at right and scroll down to "Educational Materials" on their site.

Post-Flood Stream Repair Training

A man stands beside a heavily eroded stream and bank

DEC and the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District have developed a training program and manual to help municipal officials, contractors and machine operators respond to flood damage. The training is based on sound stream science and processes. Following the guidelines and recommended procedures will eliminate the need for communities to go back and repair mistakes, saving time, money and resources.

DEC in partnership with NYS soil and water conservation districts are offering trainings at selected locations around the state. Trainings offered may include three day trainings, comprised of one day of classroom instruction and two days of field study or shorter 4 (four) hour or 6 (six) hour trainings. See a list of scheduled trainings or contact the DEC at (518) 402-8044 for more information.

The training manual can be viewed using these links:

Post-Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Training Manual (PDF) (4.89 MB)

Appendices to the Stream Intervention Training Manual (PDF) (2.8 MB)

Post-Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Trained Contacts

The link below provides contacts and locations from New York Soil and Water Conservation Districts trained in the Post-Flood Emergency Stream Intervention (ESI) Program. Please feel free to contact these individuals for technical assistance and/or questions related to the ESI program within your county.

Post-Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Trainer Contact List and Watershed Map

If you have additional questions with regard to the ESI program, please feel free to contact Tom Snow, DEC's New York City Watershed Coordinator at 518-402-9395.

Interagency Post-Flood Stream Intervention Training

In response to storm damage to streams following Tropical Storm Irene, DEC working with the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District, recently provided a Post-Flood Stream Intervention training. On January 8, 2013, DEC held this training with over 200 participants video-cast to 17 DEC office locations statewide.The Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District instructed the class.

Participants included staff from DEC, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture and Markets, Army Corp of Engineers, Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts, and Lake George and Ausable River Associations.

This one-day condensed format training complemented a more comprehensive three-day training being developed for municipal officials, contractors, and the machine operators that typically respond to flood damage. The full training has already taken place in Delaware County with over 400 participants. Overviews of the program have been provided in a number of other forums, including an Association of General Contractors meeting. The full three-day training will be offered at selected locations around the state this coming summer. DEC is developing partnerships with staff from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts as well as the various Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, to provide this training.

Post-Flood Emergency Stream Intervention Training

Part 1 (PDF) 3.49 MB (Overview, Stream Mechanics, Stream Types, Floodplains, Stream Instability)

Part 2 (PDF) 4.62 MB (Stream Table, Unstable Channels, Flood Response, Channel Sizing)

Part 3 (PDF) 4.9 MB (Classroom Examples, Work Methods, De-watering)

Part 4 (PDF) 4.6 MB (Project Sites - before and after examples)

Part 5 (PDF) 1.47 MB (Bioengineering techniques, Hydraulic structures)

How to Determine Proper Channel/Bankfull Dimensions

A screen shot of the USGS Streamstat web tool showing the tool bar and a map of a portion of NY
The USGS Streamstat web tool will allow you
to quickly determine watershed area.

1. Determine the watershed area using the USGS Streamstats web tool
In order to determine proper channel dimensions, you must know the watershed area in square miles. The watershed area can be determined using the USGS Streamstats web tool. (See "Links Leaving DEC's Website" at right) Instructions on how to use the USGS streamstats tool are in Appendix D of the training manual.

2. Look up the required channel dimensions for your drainage area
Once you've determined the watershed area, you can use the Bank-full Hydraulic Geometry Tables (PDF) 88 KB, to determine proper stream channel construction dimensions. While this may sound complicated, it is actually fairly easy and straight forward. Examples of how to use the bankfull hydraulic geometry tables are included in the training manual.

More about Post-Flood Stream Reconstruction: