For years Jay and Laureen Picha of Shakopee had been keeping an eye on a section of streambank along Picha Creek that runs through their property. The stream bank was slowly eroding and falling into the bank. There were springs seeping out of the bank, making it unstable and causing it to slump into the creek. They wanted to address the erosion, but it was a complex problem that would take both experience and money to fix. In the spring of 2014 there was flooding across Scott County and the high water took its toll on the banks of Picha Creek. On Jay and Laureen’s property, trees at the top of the bank were falling into the stream, the bank was encroaching on a driveway, and the problem was bigger than ever. Jay had worked with the Scott Soil and Water Conservation District in 2011 to help stabilize a different section of Picha Creek, so he called on them again to see if they would be able to help. SWCD employee Todd Kavitz went to take a look, saw the damage that the flood waters had done to the eroding bank, and created a design for a streambank stabilization project that would help solve Jay’s erosion problem. Stabilizing the streambank was going to be expensive, but fortunately the project was eligible for cost-share funding from the Disaster Relief Assistance Program (DRAP) grants that the SWCD had received.
After the 2014 flooding, the Scott SWCD received many calls from landowners looking for help with erosion problems that the flood had caused. To help these landowners, the Scott SWCD applied for three Disaster Relief Assistance Program (DRAP) grants through the Board of Soil and Water Resources to fund conservation practice repair projects. The grants gave the Scott SWCD funds to help landowners across the county to stabilize streambanks and shorelines, repair conservation practices in farm fields, and restore wetlands that had been severely impacted by the flooding. The last of the projects funded with DRAP grants will be completed by the end of 2018 when the grants expire.
Jay received cost-share to stabilize 230 feet of shoreline through the DRAP grants, which paid for 90% of the $50,000 project. Construction of the project began in January of 2017 and the project was completed that May. The streambed was moved a bit further out from the eroding bank, creating more space to create a shallower bank slope. Tile was installed so the springs would no longer erode the bank. Rip rap was installed on the creek bank to armor the lower portion of the slope. Fill material was brought in and the bank was reshaped to a grade that was less steep, minimizing the threat of future erosion. Once construction was complete, the new bank was seeded and mulched right away so roots would be established to help hold the soil in place.