Those planning wind projects in steep terrain (California, Texas, the northeastern USA, Spain, Italy, France) or those repowering projects in steep terrain (California) should get a copy of North American Green‘s free Erosion Control CD-ROM.
The CD, titled Erosion Control Materials Design Software 4.1, is as much a promotion for North American Green’s erosion control mats as it is erosion control software. But the CD does include simple software for estimating erosivity and the type of mats that are best suited under given conditions. It also shows how the mats are applied and gives half a dozen examples of their use in the field.
These mats, also called erosion control blankets, vary from simple jute netting (often Indian) to sophisticated multilayered geotextile nets sandwiching straw and sometimes coconut husk fibers. Geotextiles are widely used in Great Britain and Ireland as road underlayment. In North America erosion control blankets are used on both disturbed cut and fill slopes at construction sites for housing developments and shopping centers as well as along highways. Texas’ Department of Highways has studied their effectiveness extensively. Their reports are on the www.
Nancy and I have had good results at the Wulf Test Field (near Oak Creek Pass in the Tehachapi Mountains) with inexpensive jute netting. While the practice here is to plant ground cover in the fall for the cool season grasses that are adapted to the Tehachapi Mountains, we’ve actually seen germination and growth from plantings as late as mid April.
We’ve also seen some beneficial results from tacking straw but our conclusion is it’s every bit as much work to tack straw as it is to stake down jute netting.
So if you’re planning a revegetation or erosion control program you should look into these erosion control mats. The free CD can be ordered by visiting North American Green’s web site. Look for the page offering the software.