streambank, erosion, lidar, stream, sediment, watershed


Geology | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


Streambank erosion is diffcult to quantify; models and field methods are needed to assess this important sediment source to streams. Our objectives were to (1) evaluate and compare three techniques for quantifying streambank erosion: erosion pins, total station, and laser scanning, (2) spatially assess streambank erosion rates in the Indian Mill Creek watershed of Michigan, USA, and (3) relate results with modeling of nonpoint source pollution. We found large absolute and relative errors between the different measurement techniques. However, we were unable to determine any statistically significant differences between techniques and only observed a correlation between total station and laser scanner. This suggests that the three methods have limited comparability and differences between measurements were largely not systemic. Further, the application of each technique should be dependent on site conditions, project goals, desired resolution, and resources. The laser scanner collected high-resolution data on clear, barren streambanks, but the erosion pin and total station were more representative of complex vegetated banks. Streambank erosion rates varied throughout the watershed and were influenced by fluvial processes. We estimate that streambank erosion contributed 28.5% of the creek’s total sediment load. These findings are important to address sources of watershed impairments related to sedimentation, as choosing an applicable technique for individual purposes can help reduce the challenges and costs of a streambank erosion study.

Original Citation

Myers, D. T., Rediske, R. R., & McNair, J. N. (2019). Measuring Streambank Erosion: A Comparison of Erosion Pins, Total Station, and Terrestrial Laser Scanner. Water, 11(9), 1846.