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High Definition Stream Surveys: A Peer Reviewed Technique For Erosion Assessments

Sediment from streambank erosion contributes to water quality deterioration in streams and rivers across the United States. The High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) technique rapidly collects, analyzes and documents streambank conditions to enable easy prioritization of streambank stabilization projects. Successful sediment reduction and mitigation efforts depend on accurately identifying the location, extent and severity of streambank erosion problems throughout an entire stream corridor. Yet, evaluating an entire stream corridor is cost-prohibitive or simply unfeasible using traditional site-based assessment techniques. Too often, ineffective evaluation techniques direct scarce mitigation funding to non-optimal locations.

HDSS addresses cost and coverage issues associated with site-based survey techniques. Unlike traditional methods, HDSS produces a comprehensive suite of geo-referenced video and sensory data in a simple-to-understand format. HDSS data provides a better foundation for prioritizing streambank stabilization projects to maximize sediment reduction.  HDSS also documents many other factors impacting the overall health of a stream system.

The HDSS approach for determining streambank erosion susceptibility was recently published in the peer reviewed Journal of Spatial Hydrology. The article compares the accuracy of HDSS bank condition scores to commonly used Bank Erosion Hazard Index (BEHI) scores generated using traditional transect-based techniques. HDSS scores were nearly identical to BEHI scores,butHDSS has a massive advantage in speed and coverage. Thus, HDSSprovides a more complete streambank analysis inless time and at a lower cost.

Streambank condition assessment is just one of many different applications for HDSS data. HDSS techniques also support MS4 stormwater mappingand other permit compliance applications, impact assessments, habitat assessments, stream corridor assessments, dam removal and stream restoration projects, instream flow modeling, GIS/Database development, TMDL development, and more. 

Please join us in a webinar being hosted by the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) on June 17 to learn how HDSS was recently used to fulfill Phase II MS4 stormwater mapping requirements for a municipality. 

Call us or visit our website at to learn more about how HDSS will improve your stormwater management process!