Don't Go With the Flow

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Published on: Dec. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 30, 2010

technique slows water flow against the bank to prevent erosion. A bendway weir is a structure made from large rocks that protrude into the flowing water at an upstream angle. This design directs flow away from the eroding bank. And finally, establishing a vegetated stream corridor is always recommended. A good corridor of soil-holding vegetation along streams is a key component of all practices.

Landowner success stories

Over the years, the Department’s work with landowners has led to a number of success stories. One such story occurred on Little Maries Creek in Osage County.

The Luebbert family has owned their property since 1851, and Chris Luebbert is the sixth generation to live on the farm. In the mid-1990s, an erosion problem developed on his property. “Over a five- to seven-year period, I lost about 2 acres of a 30-acre bottom to erosion at this site,” said Luebbert.

In 2000, he contacted the Department for assistance. Luebbert worked with Rob Pulliam, a fisheries management biologist out of the Sullivan office, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop a solution.

In the summer of 2001, a bendway weir project consisting of three weirs was installed to protect the eroding bank. Trees were planted the following spring to reestablish the stream corridor. Within two years, Luebbert could see a difference. “It’s remarkable how quickly it started to heal,” he said. “You wouldn’t even be able to tell the first two weirs are there if you didn’t know.”

When asked if he would do it again, Luebbert said, “Without question. In fact, we are already talking about working on another bank on my property.”

Another project was completed on C. Dale Murphy’s property along the Little Bourbeuse River in Crawford County.

Like the Luebbert place, the Murphy farm has been in the family for generations. “My family homesteaded this land in 1865 and has been grazing cattle ever since,” said Murphy. “We have been dealing with erosion problems along the Little Bourbeuse since I was a kid.”

In 1996, Murphy contacted Kenda Flores, a fisheries management biologist out of the Sullivan office. In 1998, he fenced his cattle from the stream and started planting trees in the corridor. He, too, started seeing results within two years.

“We moved the cattle out, planted trees and let nature take the lead,” said Murphy. “We just followed. The difference is amazing. I am convinced that the cows

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