Securing the Shoreline in Muskrat Cove Park
Though the cold winds of March are still blowing, members of the Bronx River Alliance’s Conservation Crew have been busy implementing a bioengineering project to stop erosion of the river banks in Muskrat Cove.
This bioengineering approach utilizes “fascines”, which are live cuttings of native willow and dogwood branches lashed together in five foot bundles and installed horizontally along the river bank. They are placed in shallow trenches on the sloped banks to hold the soil in place and reduce erosion. The intention is that these shrubs will take root and grow from the branches, stabilizing and eventually re-vegetating the slope.
Another technique, planting live stakes, was also employed in Muskrat Cove. Using larger willow stakes, live, rootable cuttings are inserted into the ground. With proper preparation and growing conditions, these stakes will establish and grow, creating a network of roots that stabilizes the soil and extracts excess moisture. Willow species tend to root rapidly and are effective at drying out a bank soon after installation.
These simple techniques use readily available materials and are effective in improving site conditions through natural processes. This in turn makes way for the natural colonization of vegetation from the surrounding plant community, which helps to improve ecological conditions in and around the river.