Project Description

Restoration of Lick Run at Washington Park

In 2018, the City of Roanoke engaged Ecosystem Services to lead engineering and design to restore Lick Run at Washington Park in Roanoke, Virginia. The watershed at this location is just over 5 square miles and is over 42% impervious (ie urban roads and rooftops). Because of the highly urban watershed and past alterations to the stream, Lick Run became degraded and contributed to the downstream Roanoke River TMDL for aquatic life. The section of Lick Run at Washington Park had excessively eroding streambanks and exacerbated flooding due to a lack of floodplain connection. The stream erosion had also threatened public infrastructure. The minimal riparian vegetation and lack of deeper pools or riffles also contributed to poor aquatic and terrestrial habitat. The City of Roanoke’s primary goals for the project were to reduce erosion and improve downstream water quality.

The restoration design approach centered around the City’s objectives of reducing excessive streambank erosion while emulating natural stream processes. Our Team assessed stable sections of Lick Run and other streams to develop a blueprint for bringing these ecological functions to the degraded section of Lick Run. Our scientists also collected local hydrologic and sediment data to inform our designers of local stream processes. Then our designers and engineers created hydrologic and hydraulic models to evaluate the current conditions and predict future stream function and stability. After creating a functional stream morphology (ie cross section, profile, and pattern), we developed a native planting plan working with City Staff. The project went to construction in 2019 and was completed in the Spring of 2020.


  • Reduce excessive streambank erosion
  • Improve instream habitat through construction of pool-riffle sequence and habitat structures
  • Improve downstream water quality through arresting sediment and nutrient export

ServicesStream and Wetland Design, Plan Production and Mapping, Assessment, Permitting