EarthFax developed a compendium of stream-bank and channel stabilization methods to assist a petroleum and natural gas pipeline company in controlling the impacts of their operations on the environment. The company operates approximately 2,800 miles of pipelines throughout western Canada and the western and midwestern United States. The longest of these pipelines extends from Alberta, Canada through parts of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois in the United States.
We presented the client with 24 approaches that could be used to stabilize stream banks and channel bottoms, depending on the specifics of the site. These included “hard” approaches that rely on non-biodegradable materials such as riprap and concrete to provide stability. They also included “soft” approaches that rely on vegetation and other biodegradable materials, as well as combinations of the two general approaches. We evaluated the effectiveness, environmental consequences, and cost of each approach and provided the client with design and installation guidelines and maintenance recommendations to permit them to evaluate field conditions and, in many cases, select and implement an appropriate stabilization method without further involvement by EarthFax.
In several cases, the extent of erosion or other concerns caused the client to enlist our services to design solutions for site-specific problems. Most of these sites were located in Kansas and Missouri and were affected by either long-term erosion or by recent instability caused by the recent installation of a new pipeline within the same right-of-way. We evaluated conditions in the immediate area of concern as well as up- and downstream from that area, performed land surveys as needed, prepared drawings and other documents to detail the design, assisted the client in obtaining stream alteration permits, and reviewed construction information to help the client with project implementation.