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Soil Bioengineering Erosion Control Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Get information about soil bioengineering best management practices (BMPs). Erosion control methods include live stakes, live fascine, brush layers and brush packing, brush mattress and live cribwalls.
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A best management practice is a physical, chemical, structural or managerial practice that prevents, reduces or treats contamination of water or which prevents or reduces soil erosion.

Soil Bioengineering best management practices are the ideal measures for use in streambanks and on other upland slopes. Bioengineering uses vegetative materials to provide structural support to banks and flow reduction across banks. Soil bioengineering best management practices are usually permanent measures. Soil Bioengineeringbest management practices include:

Live stakes and erosion control

Live stakes are stakes of woody plant materials that are capable of rooting with relative ease. These cuttings are cut to length, tamped into the ground, and then grow into mature shrubs that over time will hold and provide a protective cover for the soil surface.

  • Secure streambanks or slope erosion prevention materials
  • Provide long term permanent streambank or slope cover
  • Provide quick, inexpensive and easily installed permanent vegetative cover on simple areas

Live fascine structures and erosion prevention

Live fascine structures are sausage-like bundles of live cut branches of wetland/streamside materials, usually willow or dogwood species. These bundles are placed into trenches along the streambannk and grow out perpendicular to the bank providing protective vegetative cover and a root structure to stabilize banks.

  • Provide surface stability to streambanks
  • Support the establishment of permanent streambank cover
  • Slow the surface flows by breaking up slopes and allowing vegetation to establish, which allows enhanced filtration

Brush layers and brush packing 

A brush layer is a layer of plant material that is laid between successive lifts of a fill slope and brush packing, staking down layers of material join in the rills or gullies to repair a fill slope. They are most commonly used for upland slope conditions. Both systems require live branches laid horizontally within the slope and provide quick wildlife habitat.

  • Provide stability for constructed fill slopes and embankments
  • Support the establishment of permanent vegetative cover

How a brush mattress provides erosion control

A brush mattress is a combination of vegetated structures that are used to form a protective vegetated mattress over a streambank or other slope.

  • Provide stability of streambanks
  • Support the establishment of permanent vegetative cover
  • Provide immediate flood protection

Live cribwall, stream flows and stream behavior 

A live cribwall is a rectangular framework of logs or timbers, rock and woody cuttings that protect eroding streambanks and provide overhead cover for the fish. Design of these systems requires an in-depth assessment and understanding of stream flows and stream behavior.

  • Provide and protect stability of streambanks
  • Support the establishment of permanent streambank cover
  • Provide overhead cover for fish