General Approach to Bank Stabilization
It was pointed out in Section 4.1 that problems generated by bank instability may
sometimes be most effectively and economically solved by less obvious alternatives than
site-specific bank stabilization works, especially if the problems are a result of system
instability. Section 5.3 further discusses economic factors involved in the selection of site-
specific bank protection methods. However, it may be appropriate at an early stage in project
planning to consider economic constraints beyond the fundamental engineering concept of
obtaining the best value for funds expended. Two such factors are:
Does the viability of the project depend upon a formally calculated favorable
benefit to cost ratio, or will the project be constructed to satisfy specific needs
regardless of economic calculations, such as to protect a historic site of
indeterminate value? The latter provides the most engineering flexibility, but
the former is the most likely situation, in which case the procedure for
estimating costs and benefits is probably specified either by the engineer's
organization or the project sponsor.
Does the project sponsor have the means and commitment to pay for a
well-engineered project, including data collection and an analysis of the causes
of the problems and alternative solutions? If not, it is the engineer's duty to
point out the hazards of not doing so, in the hope that a more thorough
analysis will be authorized.
These considerations are often complicated by the fact that the cost of bank
stabilization may exceed the economic value of land and facilities to be directly protected.
However, the economic analysis for projects based on broad studies can include identification
of less immediately obvious benefits, such as the reduction of sedimentation problems
downstream, which may have the potential for benefitting flood control, navigation, and
environmental quality.
Most project requirements will be satisfied by adhering to the suggestions in the
preceding sections and those in subsequent chapters on design, construction, and
maintenance. However, there are usually other interested parties who should be notified or
consulted, at least informally. Viewing the specific situation from an "outsider's" perspective,
or asking someone less involved in the details of the planning to do so, will usually identify
those parties, thus identifying potential non-engineering problems early on. Public notices
that may be required by law can also be used as opportunities in this regard, rather than
grudgingly satisfying only the letter of the requirement for the notice.


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