river running through a prairie
Iowa’s River Restoration Toolbox

Iowa’s River Restoration Toolbox is a series of best management practices developed to assist designers in stream stabilization and restoration projects in Iowa with proven techniques with emphasis on incorporating natural materials, such as logs, stone, and live plantings. Among the dozens of techniques described in the Toolbox are longitudinal peaked stone toe protection, j-hook vanes, rock arch rapids, oxbows, riparian corridor restorations, and tree/shrub plantings. It delivers a consistent, relevant assessment method and reviewable design checklists to aid decision making among multidisciplinary teams (i.e. – restoration practitioner, engineer, project manager, funder, biologist, etc.). The toolbox also provides detailed drawings and specification requirements to make natural stabilization projects more biddable.

River Restoration Toolbox, An Introduction


Step 1: Assessing Your Stream Reach and Making Decisions

Understanding driving factors that cause your unstable stream segment to erode or damage infrastructure prior to jumping to solutions leads to stable, cost-effective solutions. Misidentified solutions cause future instabilities in the dynamic stream setting, leading to costly repairs and unintended damage. Begin by entering desktop and field-collected survey data, using illustrations and instructions. This tool helps the user understand some of the key problems. It then points to multiple practices and techniques that may be appropriate for selection by the project team. A review checklist for documentation helps design team, project owners, funders, and regulators communicate in consistent ways.

Iowa Rivers BMP Decision Tool



Step 2: The Practice Guide

Once a project’s directions are determined, thorough design and proper contractor understandings and execution are the keys for project stability. The practice guide details important dimensional ranges, computations, and specification requirements to help define quality assurance measures. Most designs will incorporate techniques from multiple practices. Typical drawings clarify the more structural practices, and AutoCAD files are supplied as a starting point to adapt structures to project sites. Note that the glossaries at the end define terms used throughout the practice guide and supply equations or methodologies used for verifying stable design conditions. Before applying a technique, please make sure to read the introductory section of each practice guide for background factors common to all techniques within the chapter.

Practice Guide 1: Grade Control
Practice Guide 1: Grade Control AutoCAD Technique Files

Practice Guide 2: Vegetative Restoration
Practice Guide 2: Vegetative Restoration AutoCAD Technique Files
Practice Guide 2: Iowa Riverside Plant Selection Guide

Practice Guide 3: Riparian Buffering

Practice Guide 4: Floodplain Restoration
Practice Guide 4: Floodplain Restoration, AutoCAD Technique Files

Practice Guide 5: Geomorphic Channel Design
Practice Guide 5: Geomorphic Design, Data and Analysis
Practice Guide 5: Compare Existing, Reference, and Design Conditions
** Using the Geomorphic Channel Design practice requires additional survey, assessment, and a comparable reference reach. The copyrighted data entry forms are provided with permission of Wildland Hydrology.

Practice Guide 6: Aquatic Habitat/Cover Features
Practice Guide 6: Aquatic Habitat/Cover, AutoCAD Technique Files

Practice Guide 7: Streambank Toe Protection/Stabilization
Practice Guide 7: Streambank Toe Protection/Stabilization, AutoCAD Technique Files

Practice Guide 8: Channel Defining Structures
Practice Guide 8: AutoCAD Technique Files

Practice Guide 9: Culvert Adjustment
Practice Guide 9: AutoCAD Technique Files

Practice Guide 10: Dam Mitigation

Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Equations and Computations


River Restoration Toolbox
    This folder is empty