Turkey Creek Stream Stabilization

Merriam Drainage District | Shawnee Mission, KS
turkey creek stream

The Merriam Drainage District (MDD) maintains the Turkey Creek channel within the district’s boundaries in Merriam, Kansas. The channel consists of sections of stacked rock wall and triangular channels with riprap protection.

As part of annual inspections, Benesch identified several areas along Turkey Creek where the rock walls were being undermined. If the erosion of material from under the wall was not addressed, the bottom layer of rock would eventually drop, causing the wall above it to shift. Based on these issues, the MDD selected Benesch to design grade control structures along the creek to stabilize the creek bed and protect the walls.

Two types of projects had been considered to stabilize the wall: removal and reconstruction of the wall or the placement of a concrete slab underneath the wall to fill the void. While both methods could be effective, they are expensive and only cost-effective when dealing with relatively isolated areas of erosion. The areas identified in the inspections were too lengthy for these methods to be cost-effective.

The creek bottom in this area consists of limestone bedrock on which streambank protection is provided by a limestone rock. The creek is approximately 60 feet wide and maintains a consistent baseflow throughout the year. The Turkey Creek watershed is mainly urban/suburban, with a large percentage of impervious surface.

The size and nature of the watershed resulted in increased peak flows and high velocities, which caused the identified streambank erosion. To provide a cost-effective solution to the streambank erosion, Benesch recommended the installation of nine rigid weir grade control structures to stabilize the streambed.

In addition to coordinating with the multiple utility companies that cross the creek, Benesch coordinated this work with the United States Corps of Engineers.