Full Service Online Resource of Erosion Questions and Answers.
Here are a few natural attenuation topics that should help you find more solutions to soil, water and wind erosion, regulations, technical papers and other global environmental organizations responsible for environmental cleanup and waste management
Everywhere in the world where people change a natural ecosystem into agriculture, the land degrades. The visible part is erosion, when soil particles leave the land, transported by gravity, water or wind. Some erosion is natural but present rates are more than worrying. Fortunately there are many ways to reduce erosion
The most immediate consequence of fire is the potential for soil erosion.
Intense heat from fire can make the soil repel water, a condition called hydrophobicity.
Landowners should take quick action to minimize erosion once it's safe to return to the property:
fell damaged trees to slow water runoff after rainfall;
create check dams in drainages using straw bales;
spread straw to protect the soil and reseeding efforts; and
use water bars to reduce soil erosion on roads. read more Soil Erosion Control after Wildfire
by R. Moench, J. Fusaro
Hubert W. Kelley
German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
Soil Resources, Management and Conservation Service
FAO Land and Water Development Division. Click soil to read more
Spring rains come with unexpected quantities and force, causing significant amounts of soil erosion to unprotected cropland. Spring is the most critical time for soil erosion because of degraded crop residue, tillage in preparation for planting, and lack of crop canopy. Residue cover is not only good for preventing soil erosion, but it will cut down sediment transport to water bodies and contribute to the improvement of water quality. Read more
Sometimes when we buy waterfront property with a natural shoreline, we think that we need to put in a retaining wall or bulkhead to reinforce and protect the shoreline from eroding in the future. Unfortunately, this usually helps create the very problem that we fear! As well as interfering with currents along the shore and contributing to erosion, “hardened” shorelines also eliminate the filtering qualities of a natural shoreline, degrade water quality, destroy habitat for fish and wildlife, block wildlife access to and from the water, and scour beaches. If you are considering installing a retaining wall along your shoreline to create a flat “usable space” for outdoor furniture like patio chairs and tables, explore some alternate ways of obtaining usable outdoor space for your recreational activities. For example, a firepit close to your house may provide you and your family with many hours of enjoyable evening activity. Or, a couple of hammocks under a shady tree in your yard may provide you with more entertainment than an area close to the water's edge. If you are considering installing a shorewall to deal with shoreline erosion, obtain the advice of a professional who specializes in “soft shore protection
For most erosion problems, and particularly for extreme ones, we recommend that you retain the services of a professional consultant to analyze your problem and offer sound solutions. Look for engineers, geologists, or hydrologists who are familiar with “soft-shore protection”, also called “soft armouring” or “bio-engineering”. Even if your problem is fairly minor it will be worth the cost of a consultation for the peace of mind. Don't try to design shore protection yourself. Choosing the wrong approach can be an expensive and sometimes damaging mistake! It can backfire on you (or your neighbours), possibly damage fish or wildlife habitat -- and even result in fines!
If your shoreline has been hardened with rock or a retaining wall, there are some simple things you can do to “soften” it: Restore or plant deep-rooted vegetation along the strip leading to the retaining wall; this will help buffer surface water from runoff and reduce the risk of erosion by holding the soil together.
Plant overhanging native shrubs to help keep water cool. You can also drill planting holes from the side and plant cuttings or container plants.
In rip rap, plant shrubs in open spaces among the rocks.
Anchor a log or two at the base of a retaining wall to improve wildlife habitat and help break the force of water. This will help reduce the scouring action of waves breaking against the wall.
With approvals, you can add rock rip rap to the base of a retaining wall at a 45 degree angle, to help break the force of waves and improve habitat for fish and wildlife. Gradually sediment may start to deposit amongst the rocks, and aquatic plants may grow.
Shore "laddersQUOT; of rip rap from the base of the wall to the top may be feasible for some walls, again with appropriate approvals from DFO or relevant ministries in your province. These will help provide wildlife (such as amphibians) access from the water to the land.
If your retaining wall is beginning to crumble, consider replacing it with a more shore-friendly structure. However, this must be done without causing further disturbance to your shoreline. Obtain professional advice and obtain approvals from DFO and relevant ministries in your province. Here are the basic steps to “retiring” a retaining wall:
Dig it out: Get in behind the wall to remove the supporting backfill and then grade to a new slope of 25◦ or less. Clothe it: Lay geotextile filter cloth on the slope to hold the soil in place.
Remove the wall: Ideally, the wall would be physically removed; however, if this is infeasible, break the wall into pieces to lie on the slope. Finally, smash it into smaller pieces of concrete rubble.
Add more rip rap. This will help aesthetically, and fill in spaces left by the concrete.
Revegetate: Plant woody vines or shrubs over the top. Gradually, these will grow and look more like a natural shoreline than the vertical structure that was there. The new structure dissipates the energy of waves and currents.
To reduce erosion from boat wakes, reduce the speed of your boat when approaching the shoreline. You can post a sign which indicates the shoreline is being restored and asks people to reduce their speed and wake. In addition, you may want to use several buoys to keep passing boats at a distance.
Be sure to leave driftwood, rocks and fallen trees in place along the shoreline to absorb the wave energy. You can consider adding these sorts of materials along the waterfront and using them to mulch amongst your shrubs with rocks, driftwood, or branches. Securing a log to the shoreline or anchoring it slightly offshore will also help to break the force of the waves. If you have an actively eroding shoreline, you will need to consider soft-shore protection measures that use control blankets, mulches, and landscape fabrics to help retain your soil while your plantings are taking root. There are many specialized materials being developed. Consult with experts to ensure you take advantage of the most up to date knowledge in this rapidly advancing field
There is an abundance of evidence highlighting the contemporary ecological degradation occurring around the planet. Agricultural and Industrial pollution, de-forestation and soil erosion are issues that are becoming widely publicised, yet there are many other "symptoms" related directly to a deteriorating environment. Issues relating to public health, global standards of living and social cohesion are all connected with environmental issues.Many people remain disconnected from their environment and increasingly unaware of the basic fuctioning of global ecosystems. This trend is increasing as the world's population is rapidly urbanising, the majority of humans now living in cities for the first time in human history.
In turn we lead increasingly
consumptive lifestyles and buy all our primary needs; energy, food, shelter and goods from global sources. While remaining uninformed of the enormous impact our everyday actions have on global ecological, economic and social systems. It is possible to start reversing the current environmental crisis by adopting sustainable living practises; Permaculture Design can be a
powerful tool in the development of sustainable human settlements.
Wind and water are the main agents of soil erosion. The amount of soil they can carry away is influenced by two related factors: * speed - the faster either moves, the more soil it can erode; * plant cover - plants protect the soil and in their absence wind and water can do much more damage.
Stabilization practices help prevent erosion that contributes sediment to stormwater.An erosion/sediment control plan includes specific construction techniques drawn on the site plan or grading plan, which has a set of guidelines and construction details to ensure that no sediment leaves the construction site. Typical stabilization practices include seeding, mulching, geotextiles, sod stabilization, vegetative buffer strips, protection of trees, preservation of mature vegetation, and decreasing slope angles or lengths.
Stabilization can be used to treat a wide range of sub-grade materials from expansive clays to granular materials. Stabilization can be achieved with a variety of chemical additives including lime, fly-ash, and Portland cement, as well as by-products such as lime-kiln dust (LKD) and cement-kiln dust (CKD). Proper design and testing is an important component of any stabilization project. This allows for the establishment of design criteria as well as the determination of the proper chemical additive and admixture rate to be used to achieve the desired engineering properties.
Deep rooted vegetation such as tall grasses, shrubs, and trees, and aquatic vegetation such as reeds or cattails (freshwater) and eelgrass (saltwater), help “buffer” the shoreline. By reducing the energy of waves and currents, the buffer zone protects your shoreline from erosion. Vegetation covering your property, including in the buffer zone, provides protection from erosion damage caused by surface drainage. Because shoreline properties are on the receiving end of uphill drainage, this is a common problem; the more cover, the better for you. If properly established and maintained, a buffer zone can:
remove up to 50 percent or more of fertilizer chemicals and pesticides remove up to 60 percent or more of some bacteria
remove up to 75 percent or more of sediment (soil particles) Vegetation, logs and rocks along the shoreline also slow down flood waters, reducing damage to your property. In addition, these shoreline plants increase the soil's ability to absorb water, which reduces the negative impact of flooding.
Bioremediation is the process of microbes transforming and breaking down or destroying environmental pollution or contaminates. Bioremediation is natural process utilizing microbes, also known as microorganisms or bacteria to remove environmental pollutants from water, soil, or gas. Accelerated bioremediation is a process of enhancing this natural process and maximizing it's efficiency with the addition of specific hydrocarbon remediating microbes, chemicals and biostimulants or other components. Biostimulating is adjusting the environmental conditions present in order to enhance natural bioremediation. Intrinsic Bioremediation is the natural process of contaminate decomposition with only the native microbial consortia. For more information about Bioremediation go to U.S. Geological Survey
Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors including climatic variations and human activities. Modern desertification often arises from the demands of increased populations that settle on the land in order to grow crops and graze animals
Soil erosion is the #1 source of pollution to surface water in Maine. Each year rainstorms and snowmelt wash tons of dirt off the land around Maine. How could something so "natural" be so bad? Soil erosion is natural after all. However, when we change the landscape from forest to yards, streets, farm fields, shopping centers and roads, we accelerate soil erosion. In the USA, soil is eroding at about seventeen times the rate at which it forms Is the process in which, by the action of wind or water, soil particles are displaced and transported
The philosophy of Permaculture is to reduce the impact that human settlements have on non-renewable and renewable resources, while creating an abundant living environment, catering to the needs of all living creatures.
Permaculture is a science developed through the observation and analysis of natural systems. Through this analysis set structural patterns common to all natural systems emerge. Permaculture design then applies these "Patterns" to the development of sustainable human settlements, harmoniously integrating landscape and people while providing food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.
Geotextile reinforced soil walls and slopes present not only a technically interesting solution for supported earth structures, but most important, an economical alternative to rigid concrete walls or slopes. It is technically interesting solution because test loads applied to geotextile reinforced soil walls and slopes have demonstrated that the actual failure load is far above what current design methodologies allow. Compared to conventional graded granular soil filters, geotextiles offer advantages by providing:
The sand and gravel general permit requires the permittee to develop, maintain, and comply with their erosion and sediment control plan (ESCP). The ESCP must contain information on all the best management practices (BMPs) and structures that control Type 2 stormwater.
Plants provide protective cover on the land and prevent soil erosion for the following reasons: * plants slow down water as it flows over the land (runoff) and this allows much
of the rain to soak into the ground; * plant roots hold the soil in position and prevent it from being washed away; * plants break the impact of a raindrop before it hits the soil, thus reducing its ability to erode; * plants in wetlands and on the banks of rivers are of particular importance asthey slow down the flow of the water and their roots bind the soil, thus preventing erosion. The loss of protective vegetation through deforestation , over-grazing, ploughing, and fire makes soil vulnerable to being swept away by wind and water. In addition, over-cultivation and compaction cause the soil to lose its structure and cohesion and it becomesmore easily eroded. Erosion will remove thetop-soil first. Once this nutrient-rich layer of soil is gone, few plants will grow in the soil again. Without soil and plants the land becomes desert-like and unable to support life - this process is called desertification. It is very difficult and often impossible to restore desertified land.
To analyse the contribution of vegetations in erosion control and slope stability, one need to think of its hydrological, biological and mechanical role. read more
Soil erosion is an ever present problem and gabions have proved to be a lasting solution around the world. Gabion is defined as a corrosion resistant wire container filled with stone used for structural purposes. They are fastened together and used for retaining walls, revetments, slope protection, channel linings and other structures.
Geogrid as defined by ASTM Committee D-35 as follows:
geogrid, n - a geosynthetic used for reinforcement which is formed by a regular network of tensile elements which apertures of sufficient size to allow strike-through of surrounding soil, rock or other geotechnical material.
Riparian areas are the narrow strips of land located along marine and freshwater shorelines, whether they are located along oceans, estuaries, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, ponds, canals, sloughs, wooded draws, rivers, streams, creeks. They also include the sides of dry-bottomed gullies where sub-surface moisture is present, and even human-made drainage ditches. These areas are also often transition zones - the “vital edges” where land and water meet to create unique and often highly productive ecosystems
Poor drainage behind a retaining wall or bridge abutment will always result in a build up of hydrostatic pressure. Without drainage the wall may have to be built much stronger with a resultant higher cost and weight. Freezing of retained water can also exert extra loads against the wall.
Soil erosion and land degradation are perhaps the greatest environmental issues facing most regions and societies at this time. Although irrevocably linked to deforestation and pollution problems, soil erosion is bigger than the sum of these two crises combined. All agricultural practices depend on a stable and productive soil for their long term sustainablility. Soil erosion leads to the gradual loss of fertility in the landscape. Soil is a living entity that is formed gradually through ecological and geological processes. Soil degradation is then the loss of production and inturn the loss of dependent plants and animals. Land degradation is not a new phenomenum, human societies have been degrading environments through their cultural practices for thousands of years. Perhaps the root cause of soil erosion is mankinds general lack of understanding of the complex natural systems that constantly interact to produce dynamic and stable global ecosystems
Today the scale of the impact is greater due to exploding human populations, and unsustainable agricultural practices and urban development.
Contributing Erosion and Sediment Control Websites