LAR - Sacramento River Bank Protection Project

Project History

The Sacramento River Bank Protection Project, Lower American River (LAR) Sites 1-5 are located along the lower American River. These sites were selected for bank revetment based on selection criteria developed by both the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB), and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) for determining critically eroding bank sites along the LAR. To prevent erosion and provide a high level of flood protection bank protection was installed at these five sites. ‘Onsite’ projects (Sites 1-5) are the habitat features that were incorporated into the bank revetments to restore loss of riparian vegetation and special-status species habitat affected by construction. Additional ‘offsite’ riparian habitat enhancement measures were required to fully mitigate project impacts, including sites at LAR River Miles (RM) 0.9R, 3.3R, and 11.6R (map).

The on-site designs include a variety of surfaces capable of supporting vegetation; low riverside berms (small constructed floodplains) with varying berm-surface elevations and shoreline configuration; and woody materials submerged in constructed embayments or smaller bank scallops. Native riparian vegetation was planted in an engineered soil trench within the revetment at Sites 1-5 with the goal of creating a self-sustaining, mixed canopy riparian forest and scrub habitat, SRA habitat, and valley elderberry longhorn beetle (VELB) habitat. Habitat performance goals at all sites generally include survival, vegetative cover and tree/shrub width.

Annual Reports:    Performance Standards -  2004 -  2005 -  2006 -  2007 -  2008 -  2009 -  2010


On-Site & Off-Site Mitigation Locations

  • Site 1
  • Site 2
  • Site 3
  • Site 4
  • Site 5
  • RM 0.9R
  • RM 11.6R

Site 1 - Located at River Mile 2.1 on the south bank is approximately 2,600 feet in length. Bank protection and mitigation features were constructed in 1999. The mitigation features include instream woody material, an undulating, cobble-lined, low-berm soil trench, and plantings on the low-berm, middle-berm, and upper slope planting surfaces.


Left to right area downstream of the pedestrian bridge upstream of Hwy 160 in 2001, 2005, and 2011.

Site 2 - Located at River Mile 3.7 on the south bank is approximately 650 feet in length. Bank protection and mitigation features were constructed in 1999. Mitigation features include an undulating, low-berm soil trench covered by coir fabric mat and plantings on the low berm, middle berm and upper slope planting surfaces.


Left to right 2000, 2004, and 2007.

Site 3 is approximately 3400 ft. in total length. Bank protection features were constructed in 1996 and 1997. Mitigation features were installed in 1997 and in 1999. These include an undulating, low-berm soil trench covered by coir fabric mat, instream woody material and plantings on the low-berm, upper slope and middle berm. Transects are monitored every year to determine vegetative growth and vigor.


Left to right 2000, 2004, and 2010.

Site 4 is approximately 3100 ft in length. Bank protection and mitigation features were constructed in 1999. Mitigation features include an undulating cobble-lined low berm soil trench and plantings on the low-berm face, low berm and upper slope planting surfaces. Transects are monitored every year to determine vegetative growth and vigor.


Left to right 2001, 2005, and 2010.

Site 5 is approximately1500 ft. in length. Bank protection features at Site 5 were constructed in 1998 and 1999. Mitigation plantings were installed in 1999 and include an irregular shore line, submerged low bench with fine textured in-stream woody material, an undulating, cobble lined, low berm soil trench and plantings on the low berm surface and slope above. Biotechnical plantings on rock tie backs (partitions) in the low berm surface and biotechnical plantings in coir logs at the toe of the slope above the low berm surface were also installed. As of 2007, Site 5 has met all riparian habitat goals.


Left to right 2000, 2003, and 2008.

RM 0.9R is another off-site mitigation site for Bank Project Site 5 and is 800 ft long and covers 3.1 acres. Prior to construction, the river bank at this location was approximately 15 feet above the active floodplain. Floodplain elevation was reduced by excavating and grading the site into a series of tiered elevated benches that were planted with native riparian vegetation to create seasonally inundated floodplain habitat and Shaded Riverine Aquatic (SRA) habitat. One hundred elderberry shrubs were planted in 2004 but significant losses occurred due to a lengthy period of water inundation in 2006. The habitat features have been very successful and the riparian vegetation is extremely robust. Regeneration of arroyo willow, sandbar willow, Gooding’s willow, yellow willow, wild grape, mule fat, Oregon ash, interior live oak, coyote brush, box elder, cottonwood and sycamore is common throughout this site.


Left to right 2003, 2005, and 2008.

RM 11.6R is an off-site mitigation for Bank Protection Site 5 and is 1600 ft long. This site was revegetated with native vegetation and some areas were re-graded to facilitate the growth of native grasses. One hundred elderberry shrubs were planted in 2004. Currently the site is posing some performance challenges and is being adaptively managed to improve vegetation performance.


Left to right 2001, 2005, and 2008.