Stream Assessments

Stream Assessments

Past projects of the Bad River Watershed Association included stream assessments.

Assessing Streambank Erosion in the Marengo River

Excess sediment is one of the main issues affecting the health of the Marengo River and its watershed. Excess sediment covers up important areas used by fish and other aquatic organisms, causes rivers to be more shallow and warm, and can affect river functions like flooding. The Marengo River Watershed Test Case study identified an area of the Marengo River as a high risk area for erosion and sediment contributions.

During summer 2009, BRWA worked with staff at the Center for Watershed Protection and hydrologists from the United States Geological Survey and the United States Forest Service, to develop a method for volunteers to evaluate the severity of streambank erosion and other important features that give us clues about sedimentation and the general stability of the Marengo River. In fall 2009 and spring/summer 2010, BRWA staff, along with citizen and professional volunteers, surveyed approximately six miles of the Marengo River between Altamont Rd. and Ashland Bayfield Rd. in the Town of Lincoln and approximately one mile above Marengo Lake Rd. The program was called “Get to Know Your Watershed” and surveyors identified and assessed 97 streambank erosion sites, 135 depositional bars, 16 log jams and 23 beaver dams.

Stream Assessment Data on Google Earth
BRWA worked with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff to develop a Google Earth application to display the resulting data for streambank erosion. The application provides a tool for citizens and resource managers to view photos and data collected from each of the stream bank erosion sites, as well as evaluate and prioritize potential sites for stabilization or remediation activities.

View the Google Earth application here at the Lake Superior Basin Partner Team website
You must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view the application. Google Earth can be downloaded for free at:

The points displayed on the map depict each of the streambank erosion sites surveyed and their site IDs. The site IDs can be turned off by clicking on the “Feature Labels (Site ID)” within the “Temporary Places” folder on the left side of the page in Google Earth. The size of the dots is based on the area of the eroding bank. Click on the dots to view a picture of the site and data collected.

Description of data:
Site_ID = Identification number for the site assigned by BRWA
Date_ = Date of survey
Side_of_Ri = Side of the river the bank is located
Location = Bank located on a Meander Bend, Straight Section, or Steep slope/valley wall
Percent_of = Percent of bank vegetated
Toe_Stabil = Assessment of bank toe stability
Bank_Compo = General soil composition
Bank_Angle = Estimate of the bank angle
Bank_Heigh = Height
Bank_Width = Width
Bank_Area = Area of bank (used to create the size of the dots in Google Earth)