Erosion Control Methods


Erosion control can be incorporated into new and existing landscapes to prevent soil from washing away. Land clearing and new home construction are typical causes of erosion. In many cases the control methods will not only prevent the soil from washing away, but will enhance the landscape by holding back valuable soil nutrients. Consult local regulations---many communities now have strict methods for erosion control for certain land practices.

Mats and Screens

  • Mats and screens will help soil from washing away. Lay seed-impregnated fiber mats on steep slopes. Use wooden stakes to hold these mats in place during germination of the seeds. Manufacturers now offer large mats that come in precut rolls to be installed on steep slopes of fresh dirt work. These mats can be laid immediately after the conclusion of any dirt work that has disturbed the topsoil. Once installed, the mats must be kept watered, and the impregnated seeds begin to sprout within a matter of days. Within a few weeks, a layer of new grasses has taken root into the soil. Use open mesh screens to cover freshly laid mulch to hold the material in place. These screens can be made of either plastics or natural composting materials. Wooden stakes will have to be placed in certain intervals along the matting to hold the material in place.

Contoured Earth

  • Soil can be contoured on gentle slopes to slow or control the flow of water. Over time, silt and soil will gradually fill in these contours to provide a level surface to the flow of water in heavy rains. You can also push rock walls and old logs into contoured barriers to maneuver water to planned flow areas. A collection pond may also be dug to hold water back from running too quickly into delicate soil areas. The water can then be allowed to slowly dissipate by evaporation or through leach lines buried into the lower field areas.

Permanent Structures

  • Construction of permanent barriers from stacked rock and poured concrete walls is used to control heavy water runoff. In cases where such measures are needed, erosion is coupled with heavy water drainage that may pose severe flooding to certain areas. Permanent barriers may also be incorporated with drainage ponds and overflow drains to remove the water at a regulated rate. These types of controls are the most expensive and are typically used for sites in heavy residential and commercial areas.

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