The Jumpingpound Creek Streambank Stabilization Project 1996

In The Beginning

While conducting some spawning survey work on the Jumpingpound Creek in the early 90’s, I did an inspection on an eroding stream bank next to a road into the Wine Glass Ranch. My main concern that all of the sliding clay off of the eroding bank, was washing into the JP Creek. I contacted the land owner and we discussed some options to carryout some remediation work for the erosion site. It was decided that Bow Valley Habitat Development would handle the project, if I could get an engineer from Alberta Environments, River Engineering Branch. That engineer was Sheldon Lowe.

This photo shows Sheldon Lowe and the late Bill Griffiths, inspecting some resting pool sites on the Jumpingpound Creek in 1987. Bill was the regional fisheries biologist that helped make all of the process go smoothly. He was also a great fly fisher and friend.
This is one of the resting pools, two years after it was created. Spawning trout use these pools as safe habitat, during their migrations up the JP Creek. Spawning has occurred just upstream and downstream of some of the pool habitats.

This resting pool thing reminds me of an interest story I have to tell. When the local TU Chapter was planting willows along the creek, we all stopped at a resting pool to look for rising trout. When none were spotted, I caught a grasshopper and threw it in the current, just upstream of the resting pool. As the grasshopper drifted over the deep water, a trout lunged up to take the hopper on the surface. We all spent the next 10 minutes, feeding trout in the resting pool.

Sheldon had already helped out with a resting pools project for spawning trout that I had completed nine years earlier. We all had stopped to look at the eroding stream bank on that occasion, so Sheldon was familiar with the site. After a review of aerial photos and some photos that I sent him, Sheldon did an engineered plan for the project. A series of repelling rock structures would be used to keep the full force of the velocity of flow in the creek, out from the bottom of the eroding stream bank. The rock deflectors are considered by river engineers as river training devices.

The copy shown above is the original plan for the erosion site. The rock deflectors are angled at 30 degrees upstream, to repel the fast flow on the outside of the stream bank and move the fast flow of current, to the middle of the stream channel. This stops the erosion at the toe or base of the high outside of the stream bank. The design is similar to the Benway weir design, but the rock structures don’t go all of the way across the channel.

Below, are two photographs of the rock repelling deflectors on the outside of the stream channel, after the project was completed. The first photo shows the project site, one year later, and the second photo shows how the deflectors work during high flows in the stream.

This is the project site in the summer of 1997. The rock deflectors were tunneled into the stream bank using a very large track hoe. If my memory serves me, the rock was Class 3 rip rap size.
This photo shows the site during a high flow runoff event in the spring of 1998.

The project site has been monitored over the years, by Bow Valley Habitat Development, and it is remarkable how well the design of protecting an eroding stream bank like this, has been. Over time, the stream channel has changed direction and now it is further to the north east, where a natural sandstone rock outcropping is now protecting the stream channel. The eroded stream bank slope will take years to settle and recover, but now there is no clay loading into the stream every year.

The red stars show the location of the deflectors, 23 years later. The blue arrow shows where a sandstone outcrop is located, and that now the rock outcrop is protecting the stream bank. This aerial photo is from 2019. You can see that the eroded stream bank is still settling and this will go on for years.