Trutta Environmental Solutions

Application of the Bank Erosion Susceptibility Index (BESI): Bear Creek, Alabama

Habitat Quality Assessment, Habitat Suitability Modeling, Barrier Assessment, Infrastructure Assessment, Point Source Pollution, Non-point Source Pollution

The Bear Creek survey consisted of 64 miles in a four day field survey with data collected for both streambanks each second.  BESI (Connell 2012) was applied on this survey to tie into a simultaneously running bridge and culvert study of over 650 crossings that was using the BEHI (Rosgen, 2001).  Being able to rank stream sections and entire watersheds will reduce the subjectivity when trying to prioritize future restoration areas.  Combining the results of these surveys with data on other important factors such as land ownership, land use, geology, and jurisdictional boundaries within a GIS approach will allow further prioritization of restoration sites. One of the strengths of collecting geo-referenced video of streambank conditions is the ability to review conditions at any site within the watershed at a later date.  Over time, the value of these video archives is likely to grow as it will be easy to document change-over-time for sites throughout the watershed.  The data can be shared as a data table (in spreadsheet or database format), as a shapefile for use in mapping software, or video files to directly review the survey information. As a result, the bank condition survey data can be combined with various other data sets to create new and novel analyses of conditions and management actions and this will support the long-term goal of improving water quality, habitat and species within the Bear Creek River system.

Map from the Bear Creek survey showing the duel tracklog option to see both left and right conditions simultaneously.