Shoreline stabilization using riprap breakwaters on a Midwestern reservoir

John P. Severson, Jack R. Nawrot, Mike W. Eichholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shoreline erosion causes shoreline habitat loss and degradation and contributes to sedimentation, a major impairment in many lakes throughout the United States. Various shoreline stabilization techniques have been employed, but many are unsuccessful under high wave stress, do not contribute to shoreline habitat, or are too expensive to install on a large scale. Extensive erosion and lack of shoreline habitat on Kinkaid Lake in southern Illinois prompted lake managers to design and install riprap breakwaters to protect the littoral zone and bank as well as enhance habitat. The offshore breakwaters were shown to decrease wave height and associated erosion, allowing banks to start stabilizing and the protected littoral zone to begin sequestering sediment. Terrestrial area inside the protected zones was regressed against age since protection, bank height, and distance from bank to produce a terrestrialization predictive model. Vegetation richness was much greater at protected sites than unprotected sites, and vegetation cover increased with age since protection. The riprap breakwaters were successful at bank stabilization and habitat enhancement and should therefore be considered for use where these attributes are desired.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-216
Number of pages9
JournalLake and Reservoir Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • INHS
  • shoreline stabilization
  • breakwater
  • shoreline erosion
  • wave energy
  • shoreline enhancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Aquatic Science


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