Many properties are adjacent to a natural watercourse or stream with minimal flows trickling periodically or continually throughout the year. During a major storm, these trickling flows may become a raging river, causing bank erosion and possibly undermining existing structures.

Structural solutions (concrete or riprap) to provide protection against bank erosion usually involve high costs and often require design services of a registered civil engineer. Regulatory agencies may also have special permit conditions if environmental concerns exist.

The following are a few helpful tips and economical measures that can be taken to lessen this type of flood threat to yourself: (For erosion outside of a natural watercourse, click here.)

CLEAR the "low-flow" watercourse of debris, trash, and vegetative overgrowth before the storm season. Remove enough vegetation to keep the watercourse flowing. Contact your local Building and Safety Office for natural watercourse maintenance guidelines as well as identification of Federal and State agencies with regulatory authority.
VEGETATE bare stream banks to control erosion. Select planting material suited to both the intended use and specific site characteristics. Information regarding plant selection can be obtained from staff at a local nursery or a landscape architecture firm.
EDUCATE yourself about the history of stream erosion in your particular neighborhood. Long-term residents and previous owners may have important information about past floods and erosion problems. Stay away from areas experiencing erosion during storms.
PURCHASE flood insurance to cover flood-related damages to structures (see Flood Insurance). However, please note that damage to yards, earthwork, and outside equipment is generally not covered by flood insurance.
BE AWARE of increased or sudden erosion caused by storm flows, which may indicate a need to evacuate your residence.
DETERMINE a safe escape route from your home away from the stream in the event your home becomes undermined or flooded during a major storm.
GATHER basic necessities for possible evacuation and temporary relocation upon notification of a pending major storm.