Design of fascines for riverbank protection in alpine rivers: Insight from flume experiments

Abstract : We present the results of flume experiments specifically designed to investigate the conditions required for successful bank protection using fascines, considered in the early and critical stage of their installation (no developed root system), in the alpine context. A total of 145 runs were performed with erodible banks, considering different combinations of protection design (no protection, rip-raps, twigs), bed mobility (with or without bedload), discharge (from low to exceptional floods), and bend curvature radius. None of the runs showed any direct fascine grabbing by the flow observed; all destruction was the consequence of bank scouring, erosion and collapse around the structure. In all cases, most destructive effects resulted from water recirculation inside the bank. Thus, we conclude that all measures aiming to reduce water circulations during the first stage of the fascine construction and development are recommended. This include large bend curvature radii (when possible), fining of the filling material, use of antiscouring twigs, optimisation of the programming of the works with consideration of the hydrology (shape of hydrographs) and regular survey of the structure. Our experiments show that anti-scouring twigs have a real protective effect by modifying the local hydraulics and promoting sediment deposition at the bank toe. Highlights  145 flume runs were performed for studying the stability of fascines.  In all cases main driver for dramatic collapse was water infiltration inside the bank.  Water infiltration increases with the river bend curvature.  Anti-scouring twigs can drastically reduce these effects by modifying the local hydraulics.
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A. Recking, Guillaume Piton, L. Montabonnet, S. Posi, A. Evette. Design of fascines for riverbank protection in alpine rivers: Insight from flume experiments. Ecological Engineering, Elsevier, 2019, 138, pp.323-333. ⟨10.1016/j.ecoleng.2019.07.019⟩. ⟨hal-02266169⟩

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