Double A Willow

Projects: Streambank Stabilization Project Protects Chautauqua Lake

The first project implemented under Chautauqua County's Lakes and Waterways funding program has weathered the summer storms on Goose Creek in Busti.

Coordinated by the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conserva- tion District, the project's goal was to stabilize 250 feet of severely eroding streambank, reducing the quantity of sediment entering Chautauqua Lake and the Goose Creek boat channel.

"This project uses an innovative approach to streambank stabiliza- tion" said Dave Wilson, Conservation District field manager. "The willow post stabilization technique has never been used in Chautau- qua County. The site was selected since it had the perfect stream and bank characteristics conducive to use of this technique, along with public visibility for a demonstration area.

The project, designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, uses 8-foot-long living willow posts that were cut from area biomass plantations. The vertical stream bank was shaped to a gradual slope, and willow posts were set 4 feet into the ground, with 4 feet left above ground. Posts were set on a 2-foot by 2-foot grid along the shaped bank, starting just above the water level. Following project construction, the topsoil was re- placed and the site hydroseeded to a grass mix.

Goose Creek Living willow posts readily sprout when placed in moist soil and grow into mature shrubs, The intent of the project was to develop a living streamside buffer of shrub willows that will hold soil in place and provide essential wildlife habitat. Willows are a very resilient plant, often rapidly recovering from ice and beaver damage.

"This project also provided educational benefits to my students," stated Jeff Angeletti, Ashville Hewes BOCES Educational Center conservation instructor. "The conservation class was able to participate in the installation of this demonstration project and they will be able to observe its progress over time due to its proximity to our school."

Other cooperating partners in this project included the Chautauqua County Planning Department, the Chautauqua Lake Manage- ment Commission, excavating contractor Nate Terrill of Westfield and Double A Willow of Fredonia