Root River Stream Shoreland Project
Racine, WI

Grantee: City of Racine
Basin Program Funds: $20,220
Non-federal Funds: $29,740
Project Duration: 07/2003 - 09/2005
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Excessive streambank erosion has nearly eliminated the riparian habitat of wildlife and contributes to the degradation of the water quality in the Root River due to excessive sedimentation. In 1979 it was one of the first watersheds in the state to be part of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Priority Watershed Program and is listed on Wisconsinís Section 303(d) list of impaired water bodies.

The City of Racine is currently working on a bike trail through Island Park. While trying to obtain a permit for the construction of a bridge over the Root River, the City of Racine was informed of a problem area along the river. There is severe streambank erosion causing an excessive amount of sedimentation to enter the river and jeopardize the riparian wildlife habitats that require clean water for survival.

The City of Racine plans were to stabilize the 300 linear feet of the south side of the streambank in order to reduce the amount of sediment entering the river for this demonstration project, thus providing cleaner water in the river and improving the habitat. The demonstration project included the following:

  1. The streambank will be cut back and regraded to a 3:1 slope. The City of Racine proposes to utilize bioengineering techniques to stabilize the bank.
  2. The aesthetics will be improved by adding or replacing existing rocks throughout the 300 linear feet of streambank at the project location. Natural occurring rock will be used to reinforce the toe of the slope.
  3. Washington Park High School will monitor the project in three sections: upstream of the site, downstream of the site, and in the site. The monitoring will take place in the spring and fall for two years.
  4. The City of Racine will hold two meetings on streambank stabilization at Washington Park High School. The format will be invited speakers and a tour of the bioengineering demonstration site before and after construction.
  5. A 10 to 15-foot wide buffer strip will be installed adjacent to the south side streambank.
  6. The City of Racine will create a page on their website about streambank stabilization in the Summer of 2004.
  7. An illustrative sign will be installed adjacent to the project site after the project is completed.

Direct mailings were sent out to property owners in the vicinity of this project and the media to publicize informational meetings. Informational meetings were held on June 23, 2004 and June 28, 2005. During this meeting, examples of streambank stabilization were given and the project goals, description of work, and a tour of the site were provided prior to and following construction of the Root River Stream Shoreland Project.

Construction of this project has been completed. The construction includes regrading of the sideslopes, installation of A-Jacks, seeding and planting, installation of erosion control mats, installation of riprap, snow fence, and installation of an illustrative sign. A-jacks were chosen for use on this project because of a recommendation by the Wisconsin DNR. The goal was to provide a "softer" approach to toe of slope reinforcement, as opposed to using riprap. Native plants and erosion control fabrics were installed along the regraded slopes and buffer strip to reinforce these areas.

A few of the A-jacks that were installed have been broken and will need to be replaced. It is believed that this damage is a result of vandalism. The A-jacks were difficult to install and very fragile. Considering the damage that has been caused by vandalism and the difficulty in installation, the City would utilize other methods on its next project.

A page on the City of Racineís website has been created that provides information on streambank stabilization and the Root River Stream Shoreland Project. Pictures of the project site prior to and following construction are included on the webpage. An illustrative sign was designed and posted next to the streambank describing streambank stabilization and the bioengineering methods used in this project.

Contact: Mr. Jim Blazek, (262) 636-9191


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