About Author

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far has created 108 blog entries.

Baffin Windfarm Kenedy Co. TX

Arid Lands Project Profile:
Baffin Windfarm Kenedy Co. TX

Issues

• Poor soil fertility and quality, less than 0.5% organic content.
• No supplemental watering.
• Livestock present on site.
• Prevention of erosion on tower footings imperative.
• Extremely sandy soils.

0.5% organic matter content in footing soil required a Biotic Soil Amendment be used to achieve desired vegetation results.
Adequately protecting the tower footings from erosion is vital

Problem

Previous attempts at erosion control and vegetation establishment had failed on tower footings at the Baf n Windfarm south of the city of Sarita in Kenedy County Texas. Hot, dry conditions, low soil fertility, and additional issue of the wind farm being an active cattle ranch combined to make clear why previous attempts at revegetation had been unsuccessful. Due to entanglement risk, the property owner also dictated no erosion control blankets with netting could be used – all erosion control must be hydraulically applied. A special blend of of seed was required due to grazing activity. Dustin Shafer with Diamond M Contracting and Joel Denofrio with Innovative Soil Solutions decided that a combination of Biotic Earth Biotic Soil Amendment for much needed soil improvement and Flexterra for hydraulic erosion control would be best for the site.

Solution

*Biotic Earth: applied at 3,500 lbs./AC
*Flexterra Flexible Growth Medium applied at 4,500 lbs/AC
*Specialty Seed Mix of over 11 species, including:
Carrizo Little Bluestem, Nieces Sand Dropseed,
Dilley Slender Grama, Alkali Sacaton, and Atascosa Texas.

Late April, 2017

Results

Quality vegetation and a minimization of soil loss due to erosion was achieved in the months following application. Vegetation densities continue to improve, even with the onset of extreme summer temperatures. The client is pleased with initial results and excited to see continued improvements in successive seasons.

Download this Case Study as a PDF:

Download PDF

PA-Route 219

Pennsylvania State: Route 219

Issues

• Topsoil removed and not replaced on site.
• Wetland native seed mix and trees.
• Remaing soil had 1% organic matter, pH range of 4-5.
• Vegetation previously failed and was replanted 3 times.

Project

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) constructed a new 10 mile section of highway as part of State Route 219. A portion of the construction included the expansion of an existing wetland area. Within the expanded wetland area the plan called for willows to be planted and the entire area seeded with a native seed mix. When construction began the wetland area was excavated and the topsoil was removed for construction, but was not replaced on the site.

Problem

Because a plan had not been in place for preserving the topsoil , the soil on the site was lacking the nutrients needed for successful plant growth and sustainability. Willows were dotted around the site, but struggled due to the poor quality soil. PennDOT had seeded the area three times with inadequate results. The Engineering Architecture Design Services (EADS) Group asked Triton Environmental of Pittsburgh, PA for assistance.

After a soil test, the site was found to be significantly lacking in nutrients. To further complicate matters, the organic composition of the soil was less than 1% and the pH was between 4 and 5. The obvious solution was to amend the topsoil with the nutrients and organic matter required to make it sustainable for re-establishing vegetation. The site specific challenge to this plan was how to apply of the needed amendments. The first thought was to import mushroom compost, which would have to be tilled into the soil. This presented a challenge as there was limited access for equipment to the area. To till the material into the soil around the existing willows would have been labor intensive and risked damage to the trees.

Installation of traditional amendments would have been extremely difficult without risk to the trees.

Solution

Upon receiving the soil test results, the team at Triton Environmental recommended The Biotic Soil System featuring Biotic Earth. In addition, we used pH adjusters and fertilizer. The Biotic Earth was utilized to provide the necessary organic matter to the soil. All the amendments, except for the fertilizer, were applied topically through a hydroseeder with no tilling required. A hose was run from the hydroseeder over 100 feet away, taking care of the accessibility issues. This method allowed complete coverage of the area without having the need for equipment that could damage the existing plantings. The fertilizer was applied by hand separately.

Late fall, 2016

Results

The initial application, which was applied in late October, was germinating within two weeks. Even more impressively, the area was fully vegetated by early spring. The mix of amendments provided the necessary nutrients to establish and sustain vegetation, with an ef cient application process. This is a process that can be used on even the most challenging sites.

The next summer the vegetation far exceeded areas not treated with Biotic Earth. Survivability of the willows and the native seed mix was exceptional on a site with repeated failed vegetation. The site was such a success a larger section with Biotic Earth is planned for later 2017 or early 2018.

Mid August, 2017

Download this Case Study as a PDF:

Download PDF

Coal Basin Reclamation

Coal Basin Reclamation Northwest of Redstone, CO

Issues

• Myriad of environmental issues due to mining operations since the 1800’s.
• Previous vegetation attempts unsuccessful.
• Poor soils w/ less than 2% organic matter.

Pre-reclamation Site Conditions, 2013.

Problem

The Coal Basin project area is located in the White River National Forest, northwest of Redstone, Colorado. A combination of surface mined areas, haul roads, and refuse piles has augmented sedimentation into the Dutch Creek and receiving watercourses such as Coal Creek and Crystal Creek. The owner of this property had intentions to conduct Land Development activities and therefore needed to restore and vegetate the site. Several attempts had been made in the previous decades to revegetate the impacted area, but all had failed. The property owner contacted Triton Environmental out of Commerce City, Colorado to assist with obtaining long-term, sustainable vegetative growth.

Solution

Due to the low fertility of the soils shown on the soil test, Triton Environmental decided to recommend Biotic Earth, a Biotic Soil Amendment applied at 3,500 lbs. per acre. The use of such a product would focus on jump-starting the soil’s nature topsoil forming processes and compensating for the very low organic content, as well as being a substantial cost savings over hauling and installing compost. In conjunction with soil improvement, Triton Environmental customized the seed mix of Blue wild rye, Mountain brome, and slender wheat grass and suggested speci c grading to create ideal microclimates for the seed. Aspen Earthmoving prepared the soils and Seeding the Rockies installed the Biotic Earth and seed mixtures.

Initial growth was promising, even under harsh drought conditions. 2014.

Results

The combination of the Biotic Soil Amendment and Richlawn organic fertilizer provided the much needed organic matter and nutrients that had previously been deprived in the project soils. Based on the success of phase one of this project, the owner decided to continue with the same approach on phase two and three. At the end of 2015, the stormwater permit was closed due to the successful stand of vegetation.

The Biotic Soil Amendment approach offers a cost effective option with proven results on projects that may have been too dif cult to revegetate, or too cost prohibitive in the past. The success at Coal Basin, even after so many previous failed attempts stands as a possible template to use on other high altitude reclamation projects for sites with poor soils and short growing seasons.

Successful vegetation achieved for multiple years after installation. 2015.

Download this case study as a PDF:

Download PDF

Hydro Quebec James Bay

Hydro Quebec
James Bay, Quebec, Canada

Issues

• No salvaged or imported topsoil available.
• Highly erodible, sandy subsoil.
• Short growing season.

Before installation, near James Bay.

After use of Biotic Earth, near James Bay.

Solution

In 2004, Hydro Quebec worked with Verdyol to combine peat moss with their wheat based straw mulch to help reclaim road sides that were being built on their northern construction sites near James Bay. This project was located in the Northern Boreal forest where salvaging topsoil was impossible, and there was no topsoil to import.

To further complicate matters, the subsoil was highly erodible sand and their growing season is short. The goal was to establish vegetation within one season and make it sustainable without the use of topsoil.

Application

  • Verdyol Biotic Earth HGM at a rate of 2000 kg/ha was used.
  • The seed mix was seeded at a rate of 175 kg/ha and consisted of:
    • w 34% Creeping red fescue
    • w 5% Bent Grass
    • w 15% White Clover
    • w 3% Reed Canary grass
    • w 8% Timothy
    • w 20% Birdsfoot trefoil
    • w 15% Barley
    • 12-18-12 fertilizer, 25% slow release.
    • Ver Tack was used as the tacki er at a rate of 80 L/ha on the steeper slopes.

Click edit button to change this text.

Click edit button to change this text.

Results

All goals reached! Quebec continues today to specify a straw and peat based hydro mulch in their northern areas.

“Renaturalization is a key aspect of all the rehabilitation efforts at our installations and development projects. At our northern facilities, replanting and reforestation efforts are particularly challenging because the annual growth season is very short and the topsoil is very thin and fragile.

Preventing erosion helps us to preserve the road network essential to the operation of these very distant sites. It also translates our commitment to minimizing the imprint of our projects by contributing to the harmonization of our facilities with the environment, protecting aquatic ecosystems and improving terrestrial fauna habitat. The straw- and peat-based hydro mulch has worked very well for us in this respect. Grass was growing within the rst season of its use, and within the second season birdsfoot trefoil was blooming.”

Réjean Gagnon, Senior Adviser of Environmental Projects.

Download this case study as a PDF:

Download PDF

River Avenue Condominium Shoreline

River Avenue Condominium Shoreline Restoration Winnipeg, MB

Issues

• Limited access
• No supplemental watering • No fertilizer
• Heavy clay soils

June 1, 2015 Assiniboine Shoreline after grading and rip-rap toe installed.

Problem

An area along the shoreline of the Assiniboine River was eroding due to water level changes and wave action from boats. The engineer (KGS Group) designed a riprap toe to reinforce the lower shoreline and had originally speci ed four inches of imported topsoil and sod for the upper section. After the initial design, hydraulic options were considered as alternatives due to limited access.

Biotic Earth, used in conjunction with a BFM product, came back at one third the price of sod and topsoil, and half the price of the other soil amendment products and was therefore chosen for the shoreline restoration- under one condition. The engineer required that all alternatives were to be guaranteed for success.

“Knowing the Verdyol line of products and having experience with them, we had no concerns at all with guaranteeing the results.”

– Keith Porter, Mid-Canada Hydroseeding, the installer of this project.

Installation

• Biotic Earth: 3,900kg/ha (3,500lbs/ac).
• Native riverbank seed mix.

• No fertilizers of any kind due to proximity to the river.
• No supplemental watering.

Less than one month after installation, with no supplemental watering and no fertilizer applied during installation, substantial germination and growth of the native seed is noted.

August 1, 2015 Assiniboine River Shoreline Project- all revegetation goals met and exceeded.

Results

By only two months after installation, the native seed mix had vegetated so successfully the engineer, KGS Group, and the City of Winnipeg inspectors declared they were satis ed with the results. The property owner was pleased with the stabilization and revegetation results, and with the substantial cost savings on the project.

August 1st, 2015- all revegetation goals met and exceeded.

Download this case study as a PDF:

Download PDF

Biotic Soil Amendments: What you need to know

Biotic Soil Amendments: What You Need to Know

By industry standards, Biotic Soil Amendments (BSA’s) used to establish vegetation on construction sites are a relatively new category in the erosion and sediment control field.  Of those available on the market today, Verdyol Biotic Earth is the original and by far has the longest track record. First introduced to the market over eight years ago after multiple years of testing, Biotic Earth’s record of success on projects throughout North America is unparalleled.  By incorporating sustainably harvested sphagnum peat moss as it’s main organic component, and supplemented with straw, flax fibers, and mychorrizae – Biotic Earth has proven its effectiveness again and again over the years.

Support for Microbial Life

We selected straw and flax fibers for one important reason: our research shows that compared to others, these specific fibers work extremely well as the essential feedstock for the mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria colonies in the first year after application of Biotic Earth.

Water Holding Capacity

Utilizing only sustainably harvested sphagnum peat moss as its main organic component, Biotic Earth has the highest water holding capacity of any other BSA on the market.  Biotic Earth’s ASTM D7367 results for water holding capacity are 1,020%!  Increasing the long term water holding capacity in our soils helps not only vegetation establishment, but long term vegetation sustainability on our sites.

Carbon Nitrogen Ratio

All organic matter naturally contains significant amounts of carbon in combination with lesser amounts of nitrogen.  The balance of these two elements in organic matter is called the carbon to nitrogen ratio. For a greenhouse potting mix the ideal ratio is about 30:1 (carbon to nitrogen).  Out in the environment, the general rule is that a lower carbon to nitrogen ratio (though not below 30:1) rather than a higher ratio is much better for vegetation growth. BSA’s composed of organic matter such as bark and wood have a very high carbon to nitrogen ratio, typically in excess of 100:1, often as high as 400:1. With ratios this high decomposition of organic matter slows down and so the release of nutrients to the soil for uptake by vegetation slows down as well.  In stark contrast, peat moss has a very low carbon to nitrogen ratio of 50:1. This ensures that as it is broken down in soils it does not “steal’ available nitrogen from the soil, making it unavailable for plant growth.  One more reason that we selected sustainably harvested sphagnum peat moss as the main organic component in Biotic Earth.

These are a three of things we deem most vital to consider when choosing a Biotic Soil Amendment to help achieve the success of your project. 

Papillion Road Project

Papillion Road Project
Papillion, Nebraska

Issues

• Quick Vegetation Required.
• Natural tan color for TRM required.
• Signi cant rain events.

Problem

This City park project was a re-channelization of a drain- age swale designed by Thompson Dreessen & Dorner, Inc, of Omaha, NE. The channel was needed to mitigate and existing road side ditch that the Corps of Engineers claimed as a juris-dictional waterway.

Solution

PS 42 TRM and SC32 degradable erosion blanket were installed in June. Before much vegetation was established this project quickly received 3 intense rain events over 2 inches of rain each. Fully vegetating is a mere 4 weeks, this project took some of the most intense rain events in an abnormally wet year.

Results

Fully vegetating is a mere 4 weeks, this project took some of the most intense rain events in an abnormally wet year.

Download this case study as a PDF:

Download PDF

Arid Lands: Goldendale, WA

Arid Lands: Goldendale, WA

Issues

• Annual rainfall of only 8” to 12”.
• Arid conditions.
• Low organic content in native soils.
• Severe drought.

Initial installation – notice the severely arid conditions.

Problem

State Department of Transportation Maintenance workers in Goldendale, Washington were faced with a common challenge when restoring vegetation at the interchange between highways 14 and 97: low organic content in the soil and a lack of precipitation. Located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the project area receives yearly average rainfall of only 8 to 12 inches. This produces a landscape of open bunch-grass prairies dotted with sagebrush and rabbit brush containing the occasional juniper tree. During the summer months very little precipitation will ever reach the ground resulting in near desert like conditions. Even though the site was situated along the mighty Columbia River, water was in short supply. Any restoration efforts would be complicated by historic low levels of precipitation and compounded by the existing drought facing the region at the time of installation.

Solution

With no hydroseeding experience, the local maintenance crews checked out a hydroseeder from the state eet and proceeded to install an application of Biotic Earth from ECB Verdyol. This speci c product was chosen to both increase the organic material and provide the microbes necessary for the long term nutrient cycling processes that will keep the desired species healthy for years to come; all while also building the soil in the rhizosphere. The crew, inexperienced in any hydraulic application of material, was able to mix and apply the fertilizer, seed and the Biotic Earth in one tank load thus allowing for an easy one step installation process that reduced the risk of possible installation error.

Within sight of the Columbia River it seems strange to have so little water available for both the vegetation and the hydraulic application but the water necessary for the installation was trucked in from the nearest WSDOT maintenance facility to keep the hydroseeder running. With a sufficient amount of rainfall in the late fall the grasses got a strong start on the restoration effort.

Results were evident immediately within the rst year of installation.

Results

The next summer was extremely dry as the entire region suffered one of the most severe droughts in history. The peat moss based Biotic Earth provided improved moisture retention and helped to prevent the evaporation of what little water was available; it even capitalized on the ambient dew of the early morning to keep the grasses alive in the arid conditions.

In the following year, while some desiccation was evident, the vegetation continued to provide successful erosion control. Underground, the Biotic Earth continues to build the soil to support the long term stabilization in an area. With the incorporation of Biotic Earth into the design, the site is secure from potential erosion that could mar the area’s beautiful, if stark and severe, natural landscape.

Two years later and the site with Biotic Earth show a drastically improved level of vegetation over the adjoining areas.

Download this case study as a PDF:

Download PDF

Dissette Street Widening and Reconstruction

Dissette Street Widening and Reconstruction
Bradford, Ontario, Canada

Issues

• Close proximity to environmentally sensitive wetlands.
• Green Wall system required.
• Dye free requirement.

Early summer, 2010. Biotic Earth Black sprayed into Terramesh gabion green wall system.

Solution

The Green Wall System for this project proved that structural exibility is greater than hard armor systems, while still maintaining visual integrity in the
completed project.

1 year after installation, vegetation was even and exceeded all expectations.

Results

The Dissette Street Widening Project had several unique features, chief among them was the requirement for a green wall system due to the projects close proximity to an environmentally sensitive wetland. Maccaferri’s Green Terramesh was chosen for the structural component and combined with Verdyol’s Biotic Earth to promote sustainable, lush vegetation. Biotic Earth was applied to the filled gabon wall at a rate of 3,500lbs/ac and topped with a ber reinforced matrix (FRM) for further erosion control.

Biotic Earth is a good choice for situations where topsoil quantity or quantity is marginal due to the products ability to add it’s substantial water and nutrient storing capacity – up to
26 times it’s own weight. It is also a good addition in situations such as was found on this project where vegetation was needed, but a soil layer was lacking entirely.

“Not only do you get the site specific structure you need, you get the vegetation you want – it’s the best of both worlds.”
Santiago Tersigni, Maccaferri Canada, Ltd.

Download this case study as a PDF

Download PDF

5 things you need to know when specifying erosion and sediment control products

When specifying erosion and sediment control products a common mistake is that the performance goals are rarely defined. The majority of decisions are made based on development guidelines or local requirements to issue permits. Ask yourself why is what’s on the plans on the plans and consider these five points:

1. Are the BMP’s supposed to stop the erosion? Are they intended to prevent sediment and other pollutants from leaving the site? Or are they simply the minimum measures required to pull a permit?

2.All BMP’s have a failure point but designers rarely know what that point is. Even the results from products that are tested in facilities to simulate environmental conditions cannot always be relied upon to predict actual performance in the real world during conditions that differ from the test methods and simulations. It is fair to say that all BMP’s have a failure point and unfortunately there is very little information available to predict just what type of event will lead to the failure on active construction sites that tend to be very dynamic. Most approved plans and contract documents refer to the designed and specified measures as the “minimum” and require the operator to improve upon any failures in the field. While this may seem to reduce risk for an owner or designer it may actually lead to costly failures on site and delays in project delivery.

3. When designing or specifying always define the performance outcomes or goals the BMP is being used to accomplish. Without a defined desired outcome one should question whether they are really designing at all.

4. Be willing to adjust a specification or substitute a product due to changes in the schedule or site conditions that make the outcome unachievable with the original designed selection. Constantly strive to make better decisions in the future based on the hard lessons learned from the past. There is a word that has been used to describe doing the same things and expecting different outcomes.

5. Avoid specifications to save a few dollars on restoration and vegetation establishment. Frequently sacrifices in both products and methods are driven by the illusion of savings can become very costly when failures must be redone.

Do not accept failure as an option. The amount of time, energy and resources expended on failed installations is far too great. By expending the effort to create better designs that will meet the specific site requirements and succeed with the climatic conditions while ensuring productivity designers will demonstrate yet another area of expertise that will benefit their clients.

Alex Zimmerman
Technical Director
ECBVerdyol