Use of composted waste materials in erosion control
Risse, L. Mark
Faucette, L. B.
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The objective of this series of studies was to investigate the use of compost and mulch materials in erosion control and stabilization projects. The first phase of the study looked primarily at the impacts of surface blankets of twelve different compost and mulch materials on solids loss and water quality and found that mulch blankets produced runoff with the lowest solids and nutrient contents. Compost blankets were significantly less erodible than bare soil, and compost maturity seemed to be an important factor as respiration rate was significantly correlated to solids loss. Raw poultry litter produced more runoff and erosion than bare soil and three different poultry litter composts. Effective erosion control strategies must both protect the soil surface and establish and sustain vegetation. The second part of this project looked at the impacts of these same materials on grass establishment and growth. The findings indicated that the compost treatments produced more vegetative biomass and cover than the mulch treatments. The final phase of this study compared four combinations of compost blankets and berms to both bare soil and conventional treatments such as hydroseeding and silt fences. Preliminary results indicate that the use of compost blankets and berms offer significant improvements in water quality through improved erosion control, reduction in nutrient loads and improved the establishment of vegetation. Further analysis is ongoing to document the long term changes in soil quality and vegetation using these treatments. This paper will only report on the first phase of the study due to space limitations.