Native Plantings Added to Streambank Stabilization Sites

Image sourced from MNDNR Stream Habitat Program

Last year, over 3,000 linear feet of cedar tree revetments were installed on the banks of the Rum River in Anoka County. While the cedar trees themselves will help capture sediment and prevent further erosion throughout the coming years, the re-establishment of native riparian vegetation is essential for promoting long-term bank resiliency. In May, ACD staff, with assistance from Anoka County Parks staff, planted a total of over 1,000 plants across six cedar revetment sites; species planted included sandbar willow, red osier dogwood, false indigo, and buttonbush (pictured below). 

When present, the deep roots of native trees, shrubs, grasses, and other vegetation act like a net, securing the bank's soils and preventing them from washing away. Streambank vegetation also provides essential habitat for many aquatic and terrestrial species. For these reasons, ACD incorporates native plantings into all streambank stabilization projects.

Images sourced from Minnesota Wildflowers. © Peter M. Dziuk
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Rum Riverbank Stabilization Grants Available

A recent shoreline stabilization project on the Rum River

Grant funds are available to landowners for addressing shoreline erosion on the Rum River. If your shoreline is falling into the river, migrating back over time, or the bottom has washed out leaving an overhang, these funds can pay for a substantial portion of design and construction of a solution. Funding is available to address erosion issues of all sizes, with landowners typically paying 15-25% of the project cost. Shoreline restoration does more than just protect your property. It also protects the water resource you live on and enhances river habitat!

Those interested can schedule a site visit with Anoka Conservation District (ACD) staff to discuss options and see if your shoreline might fit into one of our various grant programs for financial assistance. Because the design and construction bidding can take months, starting in the spring is recommended. Contact Jared Wagner at ACD at 763-434-2030 x200 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rum Riverbank stabilization projects are a partnership of ACD, Anoka County Parks, and the Upper and Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organizations (URRWMO, LRRWMO) with funding from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.

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Simple Erosion Control Techniques Brings Success on the Rum River

Cedar tree revetments are a cost-effective bioengineering practice that can be used to stabilize actively eroding riverbanks. Excessive erosion along riverbanks threatens property, contributes sediment and nutrients to the water, and eliminates wildlife habitat. Installation of cedar revetments and live stakes, slows or stops the erosion and reduces the likelihood of a much larger and more expensive project in the future.

Eastern red cedars, though native to Minnesota, can be a nuisance species with a habit of taking over and dominating open grassy spaces. These cedar trees can be obtained at little to no cost through land clearing efforts and repurposed to protect streambanks and provide habitat benefit. Efforts made by ACD throughout the last 10-years have resulted in large-scale pollution reduction and extensive land protection along the Scenic Rum River. 

Since 2015, ACD has partnered with landowners, cities, parks departments, schools, and other community groups to install approximately 8,666 linear feet of cedar revetment. At the end of the 10-year project life, the current revetments in Anoka County will prevent in excess of 2,370 tons of sediment and 2,180 lbs of phosphorus from entering the Rum River, based on loading estimates.

Funding for these project was made possible through the Conservation Partners Legacy, Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa crew labor grants funded from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment, and contributions from landowners. ACD provided all project administration, design and installation oversight.

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Rum Riverbank Stabilization in Oak Grove

A project stabilizing 400 linear feet of severely eroding Rum Riverbank is complete in Oak Grove! Construction was completed in November which included;

  • Installation of 850 tons of rock riprap
  • Grading the bank to a more stable slope
  • Blanketing and seeding with a native seed mix
  • Planting native willows and dogwood trees
  • Blanketing the soil with straw to protect it until the vegetation grows

The project was funded by an Outdoor Heritage Fund grant through the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, as well as match dollars from the landowner and Anoka County. The Outdoor Heritage Fund is one of 4 funds created by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. This project will prevent approximately 140 tons of sediment per year from washing into the river, and will enhance wildlife habitat along 400 feet of riverbank that had been a non-traversable eroding face prior.

Stay tuned for more photo updates as the project greens up this coming spring! 

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RICE CREEK BANK STABILIZATION PROJECT IN THE CITY OF FRIDLEY

The Brua property located on Rice Creek in Fridley had approximately 85 linear feet of streambank with active erosion. Sediment and nutrients from the eroding bank directly entered Rice Creek. While the erosion severity was classified as moderate, the landowners observed the bank receding over the last several years, particularly during periods of extended high water. By being proactive and addressing the erosion at an early stage, they can minimize the overall cost of the project as well as the sediment and nutrient loading to Rice Creek.

The stabilization solution used a minimal amount of riprap and native plantings to stabilize the eroding face. The shady conditions of the site, frequent water level fluctuation, and flowing water required a hard armoring solution along the bottom portions of the slope. Native species well adapted to frequent water level fluctuations and shady conditions were planted above the riprap to soften its appearance and provide a vegetated buffer with habitat value (see picture to right).

Stabilization of the shoreline will provide reductions in the total suspended solids (2,838 pounds per year reduction) and total phosphorus (1.21 pounds per year reduction) reaching Rice Creek. In addition to the water quality benefits to Rice Creek, downstream waterbodies (Locke Lake and the Mississippi River) will also benefit.

The project was funded through a combination of the Rice Creek Watershed District's Water Quality Grant Program and the landowner. For more information please contact Mitch Haustein, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 763-434-2030 x150

Stabilized bank on Rice Creek includes riprap at the bottom of the slope and native seed, shrub stakes, and erosion control blanket at the top of the slope.
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Update - Riverbank Stabilization Project Construction in Mississippi River Community Park, Anoka

The riverbank stabilization project in Mississippi River Community Park is underway. Tree clearing, bank reshaping, and riprap installation have been the primary focus at this stage in the construction process.

Future work will include native seeding, erosion control blanket installation, and planting of native shrubs and trees.

The project is funded by a Clean Water Fund grant, a Watershed Based Funding grant, and match from the City of Anoka. Watch for more updates from ACD and the City of Anoka as the project progresses.

Read additional updates on our blog here and here.


UPDATE - October 2021

The riverbank stabilization project in Mississippi River Community Park is nearly complete. Tree clearing, bank reshaping, riprap installation, seeding, and erosion control blanket installation have all been completed. Planting of supplemental bare root shrubs, trees, and dormant live stakes will be completed by the end of November. The project stabilized approximately 1,500 linear feet of severely eroding riverbank.

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Riverbank Stabilization Project Construction to Begin in Mississippi River Community Park

The riverbank stabilization project in Mississippi River Community Park will begin this month. The current schedule forecasts project completion in early October and includes the general process outlined below.

  • Clearing and grubbing – Existing vegetation will be removed within areas that will be regraded to achieve a stable slope.
  • Erosion control – Protections will be put in place to prevent exposed soil from leaving the site during construction.
  • Excavation and riprap placement – This is the primary step in the stabilization process. The steep slopes will be regraded, and riprap will be placed at the bottom of the slope within the zone of frequent water level fluctuation.
  • Planting – The regraded slope above the riprap will be stabilized with native vegetation. Seed mixes, plant plugs, shrubs, and trees will all be planted.

The project is funded by a Clean Water Fund grant, a Watershed Based Funding grant, and match from the City of Anoka. Watch for more updates from ACD and the City of Anoka as the project progresses.

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Mississippi Community Park Riverbank Stabilization Project Update

The project design and bid packet to stabilize approximately 1,500 linear feet of severely eroding riverbank within Mississippi River Community Park in Anoka were recently finalized. Contractor bids are due in mid-April, and project construction is anticipated this summer during periods of low water to maximize riverbank access. Below is an overview of the planned stabilization process.

  • A section of the walking trail will be removed during construction but will be replaced following stabilization of the riverbank.
  • Mature tree and vegetation removal will be required for project access and grading.
  • The nearly vertical bank will be graded to a stable slope.
  • Hard armoring with rock at the bottom of the slope will provide protection against high flows and ice. The rock will be placed over a layer of filter fabric for protection of the underlying soil.
  • Live cuttings and plant plugs will be planted just above the riprap for additional stability, nearshore wildlife habitat, and a more natural appearance.
  • The slope above the riprap will be vegetated with a native seed mix, shrubs, and trees.
  • Additional features of the stabilization include strategic placement of boulders to provide recreational access points for fishing and viewing the river as well as small outcroppings to create a diversity of flows and enhance aquatic habitat.

Eroding riverbanks contribute to the Mississippi River's sediment and turbidity impairments through direct loading of sediment and nutrients that degrade overall water quality as well as aquatic and nearshore habitat. Stabilization of actively eroding riverbanks is one of the most cost-effective practices to improve water quality because 100% of the sediment reaches the waterway.

The project is funded by a Clean Water Fund grant, a Watershed Based Funding grant, and match from the City of Anoka. Watch for more updates from ACD and the City of Anoka as the project progresses.


May 11th 2021 Update:

A total of 12 bids were received and reviewed by staff from the City of Anoka, Hakanson Anderson, and Anoka Conservation District. The bids were competitive and many were within the available budget. The City of Anoka City Council approved the bids and awarded the project to the low bidder at the May 3rd meeting. A pre-construction meeting will be held with the selected contractor within the next month to review all project elements and ensure the project gets off to a smooth start.

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Mississippi Riverbank Stabilization Project Complete

The previously highlighted riverbank stabilization project on the Mississippi River in Ramsey has been completed. The residential property has 100 linear feet of riverbank that was nearly vertical and approximately 25' tall. Severe erosion was causing large portions of the bank to collapse and enter the river every year. The soil associated with those bank failures introduced significant volumes of sediment and nutrients into the river that contributed to water quality degradation. Stabilization of this severely eroding riverbank reduces annual sediment loading to the river by an estimated 224,000 lbs and total phosphorus loading by an estimated 112 lbs.

Project elements included clearing and grubbing of the few trees remaining on the steep slope, grading, riprap at the bottom of the slope, a reinforced soil slope (RSS) above the riprap to the top of the bank, native seed and plants, and erosion control blankets. The RSS consists of a honeycomb-like grid that is anchored to the slope and enables the finished slope to be steeper (e.g. 1.5 horizontal : 1 vertical), which maximizes the preservation of existing trees at the top of the slope.

Project funding is provided by a Clean Water Fund grant and landowner match.

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Mississippi Riverbank Stabilization Construction Underway

Stabilization of a riverbank on the Mississippi River in Ramsey has begun. The residential property has 100 linear feet of riverbank that is nearly vertical and approximately 25' tall. Severe erosion was causing large portions of the bank to collapse and enter the river every year. The soil associated with those bank failures introduced significant volumes of sediment and nutrients into the river that contribute to water quality degradation. Stabilization of this severely eroding riverbank will reduce annual sediment loading to the river by an estimated 224,000 lbs and total phosphorus loading by an estimated 112 lbs.

Project elements include clearing and grubbing of the few trees remaining on the steep slope, grading, riprap at the bottom of the slope, a reinforced soil slope (RSS) above the riprap to the top of the bank, native seed and plants, and erosion control blankets. The RSS consists of a honeycomb-like grid that is anchored to the slope and enables the finished slope to be steeper (e.g. 1.5 horizontal : 1 vertical), which maximizes the preservation of existing trees at the top of the slope.

The project is on schedule to be completed by early October. Project funding is provided by a Clean Water Fund grant and landowner match.
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