Let The Water Do The Work: Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels

Let The Water Do The Work: Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised ChannelsBegin Book Review By Joe Trlica, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Let The Water Do The Work: Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels. By Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier with illustrations and design by Tamara Gadzia. 2009. The Quivira Coalition, Santa Fe, NM, USA. XII + 239 p. US $50. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-9708264-3-5 (also available from http://quiviracoalition.org/).

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Why another book on "How-to" fix problems in our watersheds? It is because this new text on induced meandering works is science-based, and can be used by riparian specialists, government agencies, landowners, and numerous volunteer organizations who are interested in helping streams recover from past human mistakes and natural perturbations. Zeedyk and Clothier's knowledge and experiences through years of working on the land in natural resources management and in teaching the principles of physics in water movement, energy dissipation, sediment transport, and deposition is evident throughout the text. This is combined with actual field use of these principles, and has resulted in a valuable new tool that can be used in many semiarid and arid areas of the world to initiate the process of stream stabilization.

Zeedyk and Clothier have done an excellent job of writing in clear, concise, and easily understood language. Numerous high-quality pictures and figures show what the authors are discussing in the text. This book first describes how stream channels become incised, what some of our short-term cures were in the past and why they did not work, and how a stream functions, and then introduces principles of hydrology and stream mechanics in a way that easily is understood. Discussions of hydrology and stream physics as related to channel features, soil, vegetation, and historical land uses are very helpful. They then describe in detail stream classification using Rosgen Level I and II surveys with abundant high-quality diagrams and color photographs.

The authors bring in the ideas of channel evolution and how induced meandering can be used to bring about some stream stability with targeted banks for erosion, deposition of materials in the bed and on point bars, and the building of new flood plains. They describe materials and methods that can be used to help direct these processes to produce desirable outcomes. Most of these natural materials can be found on site or purchased locally, and hand labor can be used to build most of these structures at low cost.

The text concludes with how we can better read the landscape and work within the system to achieve desirable outcomes. Abundant information is included in the large Appendix, such as example watersheds, valley types, channel types, worksheets, field sheets, and other useful resources to be used in project planning, implementation, and monitoring.

Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier have created a very usable text for those interested in stream restoration in an arid environment. These principles also apply to many other streams as well. They have found a way to work within the physical laws of nature to help in the recovery of degraded streams and gullies that still are prevalent in many areas of the world today.

Joe Trlica, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.