Skip to Content

Home > Projects > San Pablo > Healing a Headcut > Log Structures

Log Structures

During the design phase, the Committee decided to install a stepped log structure, with the logs running parallel to the stream channel. The log structures allow water to fall without causing further cutting. The logs provide a non-erodable surface for the water to flow over and splash on, while not impounding water.

The log structures stabilize the soil and help keep it wet, allowing vegetation to reestablish and grow. In the long run, the vegetation will hold the soil. Over time, the logs will decay, making it easier for roots and vegetation to grow around the structures, further anchoring the logs and soil in place. This type of structure only works for streams that are perennial, because a sustained source of water is essential for growing the vegetation that is the final solution for stopping active headcutting.

In this instance, it was necessary to build large structures. However, the larger of the two structures is actually too large to be practical or cost-effective. We do not recommend building structures this large. A good rule of thumb is that headcuts taller than 30 to 36 inches are probably not suitable for this approach.