Erosion control is also known as “slope stabilization.” This process involves assessing the amount of stress a slope, hill or other soil-based area can handle before failing. In order to properly manage erosion it’s necessary to have your land areas assessed and to develop a stabilization plan.
What Causes Erosion?
Erosion, slope movement or landslides can happen when pressure creates a down-slope which is stronger than the earthen area can support.
Common causes of erosion include:
- Increased downslope pressure
- Weakened slope structure
- Moisture changes (e.g. by steam erosion, rainfall, snowmelt, or changes in groundwater)
- Natural forces (e.g. hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanic activity)
- Human disturbance
- Wind erosion
- Poor surface drainage
How to Reduce Erosion
While many properties or projects may require professional intervention, there are things you can do on your own to reduce soil erosion. Some of these include:
- Maintaining plant coverage year round (e.g. annual grasses, vegetation)
- Mulching a few times a year
- Using rough materials such as wood chips, pebbles or other landscaping options to create an artificial “topsoil” where vegetation is unable to grow
- Use of geo-textile material, sod, or hydroseeding to establish a more resilient top cover for high-traffic areas
- Minimizing or redirecting moisture in areas which have high stormwater runoff
There are also more involved methods of erosion control, which may require assessment and professional installation. Some of these include: The use of a silt fence. These are constructed using a long fabric barrier which can be used on any area where there is runoff or loose soil. These function as a good intermediary option for areas which need support while vegetation or other topsoil methods are put in place.
Erosion control matting is another option. Erosion control matting, as seen in the image to the right, is laid on top of loose soil and is secured into place. The matting remains in this location until native vegetation can begin to grow through, and does no harm to the environment. Erosion control mats provide the strength and surface area needed to protect an area from erosion or runoff.
Man-made terraces are very effective methods of controlling soil erosion, for steep slopes. Terraces require quite a bit of skill with multiple tiers. The subsoil is levelled, followed by installing a solid top soil and side supports. Natural terraces using elements such as grasses can also produce the same effect.
Contour ploughing works by ploughing along the natural curves of the land. This helps prevent erosion by interrupting earthen areas laterally ( never vertically, which encourages erosion). Meanwhile, couture barriers work similarly by using materials to create the same effect. Some examples of couture barriers include crop stalks, leaves, stones, grass strips or ditches.
Damage Caused By Erosion
As the population grows and more trees are removed, less rainwater is able to be absorbed by the soil, which can often create wells and springs. When erosion goes unchecked and structures are not properly maintained, erosion can cause significant property damage.
Some of the most common damages include:
- Foundation Weakness. Erosion and poor stormwater drainage can lead to foundation setting or sinking, and uneven or sagging floors. If you notice any of these issues, it’s necessary to reach out to a foundation repair expert to assess and prevent further damage.
- Destabilization. Landslides caused by erosion can weaken retaining walls or property slopes, which can cause runoff and structural safety concerns.
Drainage Issues: An important component of erosion control services is drainage and stormwater management. Aside from human use, water is erosion’s second-biggest enemy. In order to best combat both issues, determining the appropriate retaining wall or erosion control method is critical to the success of landslide control.
What do Erosion Control Services Include?
Erosion control is often necessary for a variety of reasons. In some instances erosion control is a part of maintaining a safe property. By minimizing runoff and degradation you can help protect the structural integrity of your property while also improving aesthetics.
Landslide control services are used for a wide variety of projects including, but not limited to:
- Commercial or private roads/walkways
- Dams or reservoirs
- Excavation reinforcement
- Trails for forests and parks
Unlimited Drilling & Foundations Inc. was founded in 1993. Over the past 28 years, the company has completed thousands of foundation repair, slope stabilization and drainage systems projects in Southern California.