Session C8 - Sand Creek Meanders Inside Culvert

The main runway for this general aviation airport requires routing Sand Creek through a 600-foot long culvert under the runway. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources required that the channel within the culvert must contain elements which allow fish passage or more specifically places for fish to rest. This requirement eliminated the typical design of a flat-bottom, lined culvert, such as a typical box culvert. In order to meet the goals of the design, a process-based geomorphic assessment of the creek was conducted, including a longitudinal profile. Using Natural Channel Design, a meandering, two-stage channel within a 24-foot-wide arch culvert was designed. HEC-RAS was used to properly size the culvert to pass the 100-year recurrence flood as well as model the channel shears for choosing and sizing bank and channel treatments. In addition, FishXing software was used to verify fish could travel upstream in the pool/riffle structure planned. The resulting design was a rock-lined two-stage channel with a pool/riffle structure within the culvert. In the design, the new channel was reconnected to the existing channel, as a two-stage channel with pre-vegetated coir log and rock bank treatments and Newbury rock weir grade controls in a sand-bottom channel. The culvert and channel inside, and the realigned channel with pre-vegetated coir logs were completed in late 2009. Live staking and bare-root planting in the reconstructed floodplain was completed during the spring 2010. The design team presented this design to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, including a comprehensive understanding of the geomorphic setting as well as the science and engineering rationale behind the design. Had the team not proposed this design, the project would have been placed on indefinite hold and likely be in litigation. Placing multiple meanders within a culvert is arguably the first of its kind in the US.
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