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Bank battering

Bank battering is a technique that involves excavation works to reduce bank slope in order to improve riverbank stability and create more favourable conditions for vegetation establishment. In many instances, bank battering is limited to the upper bank profile.

Bank battering requires combined vegetation management and physical intervention. This technique does not address the cause of bank steepening, and it is recommended that the processes responsible for any channel changes be addressed rather than just managing the symptoms.

Bank cross-section showing battered bank for revegetation. Image by Queensland Government

Potential benefits from this intervention:

  • Battering can provide favourable conditions for vegetation to establish over a greater proportion of the bank profile.
  • This technique is often used in combination with other forms of bank erosion control (e.g. rock armouring, timber revetment) to achieve a stable final bank angle.
  • Battering can be used to improve safe access to a river (e.g. in an urban setting).

Potential negative implications from this intervention:

  • Battering will generally not address the cause of erosion.
  • Battering disturbs soil and results in the bank being more vulnerable to erosion in the short term while the vegetation establishes. This may not only impact on bank stability but also water quality.
  • High disturbance during excavation including vegetation removal and heavy machinery within rivers.
  • Battering works remove values that are important to bank stability such as vegetation and root structure.
  • These works reduce geomorphic diversity, removing habitat values associated with vertical banks, undercut banks and overhanging vegetation.

Intervention considerations:

  • Seek appropriate specialist advice and check legal obligations (e.g. permits).
  • Without vegetation establishment on the battered bank face, the site is unlikely to be successful in the long term.
  • While bank battering can stabilise an area without the need for hard engineering solutions, addressing the cause of erosion is required for continued success.
  • Alternative or additional channel stabilisation will generally be required to provide long term channel stability.
  • The disturbance and cost associated with battering may not justify physical intervention.
  • Safety of volunteers and employees including seasonal exposures (e.g. heat) and high risk areas (e.g. crocodile presence in waterways or areas with soil contaminant risks).

Additional information


Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE). 2007. Technical Guidelines for Waterway Management, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.

Last updated: 22 June 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2022) Bank battering, WetlandInfo website, accessed 25 June 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation