Bamboo river erosion control

We bought a camp on a small river in eastern Indiana. The bank recently underwent a lot of erosion. Its eight foot walls are literally vertical at the top. Obviously it is too late to do much about this, but I was thinking that bamboo might work well to try to mitigate more erosion. We will be fishing off the bank so the bamboo should not be too tall. I understand that when you cut bamboo, it stops growing. We could let it start and just trim anything that got in our way. The bank faces the south and gets a lot of light. The soil is very sandy and appears rich.
Any thoughts?
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I have bamboo growing about and would think it not the way to go.
Look at <http://erosion-prevention.com/vetiver.html and check with your county agent about introducing vetiver grass.
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA






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Reading the article, temperature could be a problem.
wrote:

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Looks tough to me but your temps are unknown to me.
Frop the URL
"Vetiver maintains tolerance to extreme climatic variation such as prolonged drought, flood, submergence and extreme temperature from -14C to +55C (7 to 131F) exceeds most grass, iceplant,red apple, bamboo and many tree varieties."
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA






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wrote:

That's not about erosion control for waterways that's for dry banks. Once river/stream banks give way due to excessive water it's too late to plant anything but rock. I had a similar situation, too much water in my stream after the ground thawed in spring and I lost much of the banks, in fact huge chunks washed away. My first thought was plantings (actualkly my first thought was PaNiC), I considered reeds as I have lots of cattail at my pond. But reeds don't anchor into vertical ground and won't hold with rushing water. After much research my only solution was to have the stream totally reconfigured, dug deeper and wider so it would hold greater volume, and the surface made with a smooth contour to keep water turbulence to a minimum. Then the entire stream was lined with a special heavy duty matrix material, and then ripraped (riprap means lined with stone so as to break up and equalize the pressure of rushing water). The first attempt failed as the stones used were too small (many washed away) and since it was done in the fall there wasn't enough time for plants to take hold between the stones that would marry it all together. The excavating company came back in early summer when water flow was very low with larger stones (they can't do this with rushing water). So far it has held well through last fall's heavy rains and this winter, the real test will be this spring.
I had to have it repaired before it became worse, erosion does not heal itself.... and micky mousing around with silly schemes trying to save a few dollars would have been foolhardy... another heavy rain and the repair would have cost ten times as much, I know I did the right thing. And I had no choice as the erosion was mostly at the turn where the pipe from my french drain entered the stream, the erosion was working towards my house too.
Some of the erosion:
http://i40.tinypic.com/2i75zs7.jpg
Stone being installed:
http://i44.tinypic.com/2yybdht.jpg
French drain rerouted:
http://i42.tinypic.com/wqvk47.jpg
They did a nice job:
http://i39.tinypic.com/xonrcw.jpg
At times water used to rise to the top and even overflowed, now the stream can contain greater volume:
http://i39.tinypic.com/23j1mxh.jpg
The excavating company did a neat job, they made minimal mess and the next day hauled in a load of top soil, reseeded, and rolled everything smooth. Over the summer the grass grew back and a lot of plants started filling the stream. This spring after the rains I intend to replant the banks as I lost most everything with the erosion, shouldn't take long to look good again. I was surprised that they charged only $1,800. I would strongly urge the OP not fool around with planting bamboo, it won't work and will waste a lot of valuable time while more erosion is bound to occur. And there is no way anyone can do this by hand, hire an excavating company and be certain they come with good credentials... I swear that operater could do brain surgery with that machine. This is the third big job they did for me, always a great job at a fair price... and they stand behind their work, not many would return and do it over. And this was a very small fill in job for them, they mostly do big commercial jobs, that was their smallest excavator.
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Good info, but we are talking about a 200 foot wide river and a bank more than 10 feet tall.
wrote:

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You cannot repair that yourself, in fact under riparian law you'll probably need permission to touch it, so don't go digging holes to put in plants. Before doing anything I suggest you contact the appropriate government agencies; begin by speaking with your town clerk about which agencies you might contact... begin at the local level and work up from the town to county to state to federal.
Didn't you notice that river when you purchased your property (how could you not - all you saw was a pretty lazy river -changing weather conditions and liability never occured to you), didn't you check into who is responsible for maintaining the river banks, and whether you're in a flood plain.. you should have received such info at closing under full disclosure law... you may need to engage an attorney and sue the realtor/seller, if so do NOT choose a local attorney. I have no idea what your property is about, like elevation, acreage, and how much frontage is on that river, but it sure sounds like you are probably in very deep doodoo. Speak to your neighbors who also front that river, on a river that size you can't be the only one with erosion. If this erosion is from an isolated major weather event there may already be a government relief program underway, if so find out where to get and submit the forms to put yourself on record as applying for help. I suggest you move quickly. And start taking lots of photos (hopefully you have photos of the area prior to the erosion), and keep a daily log of weather conditions, take pictures every time it rains and/or there's high water. The one thing you have going for you is with a river of that magnetude you're not the only one who's affected by the erosion. I went through all the above but found no help because the town was only responsible for the 50 feet either side of the road center the stream passes under via culvert, and I was the only one affected. So rather than waste time and energy banging my head against the proverbial brick wall of government I decided to pay for the repair myself... and I wasn't about to wait for the damage to become worse.
You may find something helpful here, perhaps if you caontact them they can give guidance: http://www.erosioncontrol.com /
Good luck.
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The yard behind the the bank is quite long so there is no emergency. I was fully aware of the issue. We could lose 100' before the septic system is a problem. There is a shelter near the edge that I would rather not move, but in some ways, moving it would be a lot cheaper and easier than screwing with the bank.
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You seem not to need any advice, seems you knew all the answers before you posted. I was becoming concerned for you, thank you for clearing that up.
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Sorry, I did not mean to give you that sort of impression. You seemed to have some strong concerns that were not really high on my list.
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On Thu, 19 Feb 2009 12:11:33 -0500, "Dan Listermann"

Bamboo can be invasive, dwarf varieties and variegated types less so. It can be very effective in erosion control. Keep in mind that you may have bamboo control issues in the future. I've seen it growing under asphalt, and it has broken water pipes, etc.
If the river bank is sunny, grass might work well. You may need to cover it with a net with some mulch, compost, or straw to help keep it from washing away until it gets started.
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Better than Bamboo is Miscanthus, it is native to the great plains and may have ranged into Indiana. It has deep and strong roots (remember the stories about sodbusters - it was Miscanthus they were busting). It is not subject to most weather issues in the midwest.
It is the grass that is being looked at for biomass and biofuels because of its ability to grow and spread quickly.
That having been said - it does grow and spread quickly and it has deep roots. If you ever intend to grow something else there - don't plant it. Keep it well mowed in areas you do not want it to spread in and remember the roots can run 2 or 3 feet without popping up and then suddenly - you have it.
in small form it looks like grass - allowed to grow to full height - some varieties can top 8 feet in a summer. Deer and other wildlife find it an acceptable food, especially in the spring, because it starts greening up faster than most grass.
OBTW - the popular name is switch grass. Most nurseries carry at least one variety.
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Just to clarify this: Miscanthus is a genus of grasses native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and Southern Asia. It is not native to any region of the US. Switch grass is in the genus Panicum. It is not a Miscanthus. Emilie
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Dan Listermann wrote:

It's declared a noxious weed in many places - for good reason.
David
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canebrake was probably native there, worth looking into
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