Natural Channel Design

Protecting Exposed Energy Pipelines




Various Counties, Michigan

Key Elements

  • Wetland and stream delineation and assessment
  • Wildlife and endangered species survey and habitat assessment
  • Natural stream channel design
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling
  • Permitting and compliance support

GEI used natural channel design to relocate multiple streams throughout Michigan to protect exposed energy pipelines.

Pipeline protection feasibility assessments have been conducted at multiple exposed energy pipelines. GEI developed plans to protect these utility lines by relocating streams while using natural channel design principals. These efforts included field surveys to delineate wetlands and streams or protected species habitat, evaluation of Rosgen stream parameters, design of J-Hook stream structures, and qualitative level analysis for sediment transport within the streams.

The natural channel design process allows the relocated stream to function naturally and encourages both the hydraulic and biological function of the waterway. For projects where a stream relocation solution was feasible, GEI produced full permit and construction drawings which depicted how impacts to the surrounding stream and wetland were minimized while also accomplishing the pipeline protection requirements of the client. Additionally, stream relocation projects can require multiple environmental permits from state, county, and/or city regulatory agencies. Acting as the client’s agent, GEI facilitated procurement of these permits during the design phase and executed all permit conditions during the construction phase.


Stream relocation pipe protection projects deliver a reliable and cost effective solution which, including design, permitting, and construction costs, were reported to be between 10% and 20% of the cost estimates for other protection solutions such as directional boring.

Have a project in mind?

Learn more about how we can help you.