cbec delivered the first large wood bank protection project in Iceland, providing design and on-site construction supervision roles for the groundworks that were undertaken by McGowan Environmental Engineering and a local contractor across two phases (October 2021 and May 2022)

The ‘nature-based’ design represents a more effective, sustainable and environmentally sensitive alternative to more ‘traditional’ bank protection using large rock. Created to work with river processes, the design actively dissipates flow energy, enables a degree of natural adjustment of the river and greatly improves biodiversity.

To provide immediate stability of the reprofiled bank slope, turfs were carefully reinstated and local native trees were planted to ‘kick-start’ the process of slope stabilisation through root structures. As the planted trees mature, they will provide the future supply of large wood to the channel, a process that naturally and sustainably mediates bank erosion rates. After the largest flood event in over ten years, the bank has remained entirely stable, with all the reinstated turfs and planted trees still in situ.

With significant media interest in the project, we hope that this type of measure begins to be applied more widely across Iceland, in keeping with the outstanding natural beauty of the landscape there.

cbec projects Andakílsá River bank protection before and after photos