Streambank stabilization has traditionally been performed with riprap for which reliable design and installation procedures are available. Due to concerns about the environmental impact of riprap, there has been increasing interest in more natural biotechnical (or bioengineering) alternatives. A review of the litera­ture on biotechnical approaches to streambank stabilization has been per­formed, with a focus on those works that might be particularly useful in developing design guidelines or standards for the Indiana Department of Transportation. Works that synthesized the literature (up to about the year 2000) and so covered a broad range of topics, were examined, including monographs and manuals published by federal and state agencies. More recent publications were also found on narrower more specific topics, including the ecological effects of riprap and bio­technical approaches, advances in the geotechnical modeling of vegetation effects on bank stability, the effectiveness of biotechnical measures, and screening methods for selecting appropriate measures. Implications of the reviewed work for the development of design guidelines are discussed.

Report Number



streambank stabilization, biotechnical approaches, soil bioengineering, bank erosion, literature review

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version