The paper reports on the prediction of flow in a reach of the Sacramento River with focus on a part of the river's bank where serious erosion has occurred. The simulations were obtained using a three-dimensional Navier-Stokes solver which utilized body-fitted coordinates to represent the complex river bathymetry. Comparative predictions were obtained using a two-dimensional, depth-averaged formulation. Local (nested) mesh refinement was employed to provide the necessary resolution of the bank geometry in the region of interest. The study focuses on the assessment of the effectiveness of a particular arrangement of groynes which was found in physical model studies to significantly reduce the rate of erosion in the region under consideration. To validate the computational models, predictions were first obtained for the case of turbulent flow in a straight rectangular channel with one groyne. Measurements of velocity and boundary shear stress were used for model validation. For the reach of the Sacramento River under consideration, velocity measurements obtained in the large-scale physical model were also used to check the computational model prior to its use for prediction of the river flow with groynes. Here, too, both depth-averaged and three-dimensional computations were performed with the objective being to determine the influence of the groynes on the flow velocity. The bank erosion rate was estimated by coupling the 'excess shear stress' method to the computed mean velocity field. The results show that for the groynes configuration that was found optimal in the physical-model studies, and that was actually implemented in the Sacramento River, the groynes are effective in reducing the bank erosion of the affected zone but at the cost of transferring a far less severe problem further downstream.