Woody debris is a natural component of the riparian system. Woody debris helps disperse flow rates, provide channel stability, and habitat for fish. The removal of woody debris is not advised unless there is potential damage to land and/or property. Removing fallen woody debris for aesthetics should be kept to a minimum. Consideration for removing woody debris should be determined by the threat of erosion, flooding risks, blocking culverts, headgates, or bridges, and if there is a possibility of a new channel forming.
The Lewis & Clark Conservation District requires a permit for removal of any extreme cases. We do ask for landowners to maintain their culverts, headgates, and bridges and to assess the possible damages that may arise from high waters. On the other hand the Conservation District will sometimes advise the use of woody debris for streambank restoration projects to assist with stream flow rates against stream banks.