Erosion Control on Steep Slopes & Embankments

5 Steps for Erosion Control on Steep Slopes and Embankments

For the most part, soil will stay put. However, on steep slopes and embankments, there is the elevated risk of erosion. It is essential to put as much effort as possible into actions that will stop the soil from washing away.  This is because not only could this make the area that has been eroded barren, but it could also adversely affect water supply and introduce pollutants. Additionally, it could take decades to rebuild even the initial layer of topsoil, so it essential to have some insight on how to keep topsoil in place.

There are many methods that could be used to help prevent or stop erosion on steep slopes, some of which are listed below.

Plant Grass and Shrubs

slopeGrass and shrubs are very effective at stopping soil erosion. This is primarily because plant roots tend to hold soil together, making it harder to erode. The leaves of the plants also help to reduce the velocity of raindrops falling on the ground, making it harder for them to dislodge the soil and erode it. Ornamental grass and low, spreading shrubs work best as they leave no areas of bare soil exposed to the elements.

Use Erosion Control Blankets to Add Vegetation to Slopes

There are many varieties of fiber, biodegradable, and compost blankets/mats on the market today, and they have all been designed with one aim; to minimize the effects of water erosion on slopes and embankments. Rolled mats are usually made from mulch that is held together by a fiber mesh. They degrade slowly, allowing vegetation that may have been grown in the area to grow and take over the job of protecting the soil from erosion when the mats have finally degraded completely.  Compost erosion control blankets act similarly to mulch products but provide organic nutrients that promote vegetation growth, even in areas where germination, moisture management and irrigation could be challenging.

Build Terraces

Cascadia Wall Rexford Place ProjectIf you are planning on trying to control the erosion on very steep slopes or embankments, sometimes planting vegetation may just not cut it as the slope may be too steep to support anything other than the hardiest grass due to the rapid rate of erosion. If this is the case, you should consider building terraces to help slow down erosion as the vegetation takes hold. Terraces can be made out of anything, from wood to concrete blocks to bio-mechanical solutions like the Cascadia Green Wall that uses Filter Soxx with natural mulch/seed filling and geogrid for structural stability. The beds that are created by the terraces can then be used to plant vegetation such as ornamental plants or grass.

Create Diversions to Help Drainage

Depending on the incline of the slope or embankment, one of the most effective ways to help prevent erosion is to create diversions which will channel excess water down the slope along a predetermined path. One of the simplest ways to do this is to create open ditches or drains by simply digging along the slope at regular intervals. Use of pipes and gutters is also very effective, and work just as well as natural drains when designed and installed properly.

Talk to our specialists about a specific erosion challenge

12 replies
  1. Jenna Hunter
    Jenna Hunter says:

    We have been living right next to a very steep slope on the side of a mountain for 2 years now and it looks like a landslide is going to happen soon or so says the news. I was surprised to read that building a terrace helps slow down erosion as the vegetation takes hold. We will be sure to get in contact with the city to see if this idea may work for them!

    Reply
  2. Ashley Maxwell
    Ashley Maxwell says:

    I really like how you said that erosion can degrade. I also like how you said that control blankets can help growing vegetation. My husband and I are looking into erosion control on our property; thanks for the post.

    Reply
  3. Alexandria Martinez
    Alexandria Martinez says:

    I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day about her interest in erosion control. She was really confused as to how that would work and what the necessary procedures would be. I will let her know that building terraces is a good start.

    Reply
  4. Jean Sapin
    Jean Sapin says:

    I have a back slope on my hillside property that is losing soil. I need a company that specializes in this problem, and will give me a price estimate on dealing with it. I live in Sherman Oaks, CA in the Santa Monica Mts.

    Reply
  5. Sabiiti Gilbert
    Sabiiti Gilbert says:

    Am a student of Agricultural land use and management at Makerere university and I want to specialise in Terracing methods. Which special project about soil erosion can I do in order to qualify for Terracing program

    Reply
  6. Duncan Lance
    Duncan Lance says:

    Erosion can be quite dangerous for many roads and towns, so knowing how to control it is quite important. The article makes a pretty good point with its suggestion to build terraces. After all, with the right services you could build terraces that not only stop erosion, but blend into the natural landscape as well.

    Reply
  7. Ellie Davis
    Ellie Davis says:

    Thank you for pointing out that on slopes there is an elevated risk of erosion. This seems like something people would want to take into consideration. Hopefully, people will look into finding the best soil stabilization companies. possible.

    Reply
  8. Stephanie Fonder
    Stephanie Fonder says:

    Thank you for the article. How can I definitively determine slope erosion is occuring? I saw what a
    I believe is evidence of erosion on a completely barren slope behind my property in Corona, CA (HOA maintained slope), so asked them to add ground cover. They sent a vendor to look out who denies there is any erosion. I simply want to avoid future problems.

    Reply

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