Becoming a real Forestry and Environmental Engineer (Part 1)

In this post, I would like to present my Master thesis, something different that we talk about in this blog. I worked for one year in a hydrological restoration project. Besides, it will be presented at the International Symposium on Soil and Water Bioengineering in a Changing Climate which will be in GLASGOW,  on 7-8 SEPTEMBER. This Symposium will be a meeting inside the Life+ Project ECOMED.

The main aim of this project is to perform a hydrological study and for proposing necessary actions against erosive processes and incision at the channel and the banks in the basin of La Saúca Creek, located in the municipality of Alameda del Valle (Region of Madrid, Spain).

In order to identify the hydrological dynamic of the stream, the existing information on the current state of the basin was analysed, as well as, the flows of the basin to assess its torrential hydraulic. Finally, a specialised software was applied to complete a flooding study.

Banks and channel incised near the village. Author: Isaac Sanz

The incision processes, which configured deeper transversal section and a smaller width/deep coefficient, became very unfavourable and a stream concentration and bigger stream velocity were induced. The causes of the incision problems can be grouped by human and/or cattle origin.

HEC-RAS and Geo-RAS software were used to model possible floods in the stream close to the village. Additionally, HEC-HMS was used for estimate peak streams.

The flood risk results of the study zone showed that tiny floods could be produced in short periods of 5 and 10 years without caused several problems. The aim was to propose actions for controlling those floods and to stop the incision processes.

After the completion of the hydrological study and the analysis of the incision and erosion problems, a series of actions were proposed to correct the incision and the erosion of the banks and the channel.

The slope fell as a result of the incision process. Author: Isaac Sanz

The main objectives of the actions proposed in this project were to:

  • Stop erosion and incision processes by stabilising slopes and banks.
  • Restore the riparian forest through afforestation.

Bioengineering techniques proposed were a combination of Rock rolls and Fiber rolls with GeoCells for bank stabilisation y latterly an afforestation of the riparian forest with autochthonous species. Finally, the restorations were protected for the wildlife and the cattle by fences.

In the next post I will talk about the incision process and I will present to you each action that I proposed in my Master thesis describing the actions, materials used and a short budget for the project.

Author of the main photo: Isaac Sanz

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