The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has excellent technical reference material on soft engineering techniques. This information is available in the Engineering Field Handbook: Chapter 16 - Streambank and Shoreline Protection. An electronic copy of Chapter 16 (PDF) is available online.
The NRCS Technical Guide includes standards and specifications for several conservation practices of importance to soft engineering/conservation buffer activities. These include:
- Critical Area Planting, #342;
- Filter Strips, #393A;
- Riparian Forest Buffers, #391; and
- Streambank & Shoreline Protection, #580.
These standards, plus the entire NRCS Technical Guide, are available online via the electronic Field Office Technical Guide web site. To view the guide, select Michigan from the map. Note that the standards mentioned above are available as PDF documents via the Table of Contents page under Section IV.