Photo 1: Restoring a damaged stream site

This photo of a stream in rural Virginia illustrates a common situation — landowners seeking to repair stream banks and protect property after an uncommonly powerful and damaging flood. This stream drains a 7-square-mile watershed. Although mostly forested and in excellent ecological condition, the slopes that drain to this stream are very steep, resulting in unstable, "flashy" stream flooding behavior. During Hurricane Fran (September, 1996) this stream rose far above the bank shown, flooding these cabins and chewing away at the stream banks.

In Fran's aftermath, these landowners are attempting to stabilize the banks and protect their property from further erosion. Your self-test of your restoration knowledge is to decide what is right and what is wrong with this picture. The links listed below the photo describe parts of the photo. Click on the descriptive links where you think what you see is correct, incorrect, or somewhere in between. You will find out whether other restoration practitioners agree with you. When you have completed this exercise, try What's Right/Wrong with This Picture—2 to learn how a nearby part of the same stream was affected by the same storm event, but with different results.