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Engineered logjam technology: a self-mitigating means for protecting transportation infrastructure and enhancing riverine habitat


Transportation projects set within river valleys are susceptible to incurring economic and environmental costs when they fail to recognize and accommodate geomorphic processes. For example, overlooking natural processes such as channel migration can lead to costly protection measures that adversely impact aquatic habitat and further exasperate problems elsewhere. In situations where proposed protection measures may adversely impact endangered species, the resulting regulatory constraints can result in major delays and cost overruns. River-reach assessments and new engineering technologies can provide transportation managers with valuable tools to find sustainable solutions to develop and maintain transportation infrastructure in sensitive environments. Reach assessments provide valuable scientific information on how a river has changed through time and how it is likely to change with or without the implementation of a particular project. New “biomimicry” technologies such as engineered logjams, which emulate natural conditions, offer a self-mitigating approach that successfully achieves project goals and regulatory requirements. Since transportation corridors occupy significant portions of stream and river valleys, the cumulative affect of implementing this type of approach presents a cost-effective opportunity for sustaining and restoring ecological integrity throughout the world.

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