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Hydro Quebec James Bay

Hydro Quebec
James Bay, Quebec, Canada


• 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.


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.


  • 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.

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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.

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River Avenue Condominium Shoreline

River Avenue Condominium Shoreline Restoration Winnipeg, MB


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

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


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.


• 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.


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.

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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


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


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.


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.


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

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Arid Lands: Goldendale, WA

Arid Lands: Goldendale, WA


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

Initial installation – notice the severely arid conditions.


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.


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.


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.

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Dissette Street Widening and Reconstruction

Dissette Street Widening and Reconstruction
Bradford, Ontario, Canada


• 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.


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.


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 lled 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.

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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

Cordova, Alaska

Project Profile: Cordova, Alaska


• Outcompeting invasive weeds.
• 2:1 to 1:1 steep slope.
• 5” rain event two days after install.


Bohemian Knotweed is an invasive species that can take over an area, choking out existing vegetation and leading to erosion as the better suited species are displaced. Such was the case in Cordova Alaska, situated on the southeastern end of Prince William Sound. Eradicating the knotweed and establishing desired vegetation quickly was neces- sary to halt the advance of the destructive knotweed and restore the area.


The Plant Materials Center was contacted to create a solution that would meet the restoration and eradication goals. Casey L. Dinkel and Phil Czapla designed a seed mix custom tailored for the unique micro climate found in the project location.

Seeding Mixture: Application rate of 1.5 lbs per 1000sq/ft

• Arctagrostis latifolia – Polargrass – 60%
• Deschampsia cespitosa – Tufted Hairgrass – 25% • Festuca rubra – Red Fescue – 10%
• Lolium multi orum – Annual – 5%

A slow release organic fertilizer with a 25% turkey manure base was also used to ensure the plants established quickly in preparation for the long winter.


After removing the knotweed and installing rock to drain the naturally occurring seeps, the slopes were re-contoured to a 1:1 – 2:1 nish grade. Biotic Earth was applied at a rate of 3000lbs per acre and then covered with a bonded ber mulch to ensure the seed, fertilizer, and Biotic Earth were kept in place during erosive rain events. The design was tested by Mother Nature within 48 hours by over ve inches of rainfall over a two day period. With no impact to the installation, the successful eradication and restoration is well under way. The long term nutrient cycling provided the Verdyol Biotic Earth will be fundamental is supporting the desired species and preventing the re-emergence of the invasive knotweed.

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Indiana Veterans’ Home Slope Repair

Indiana Veterans’ Home Slope Repair, Lafayette, IN


• Steep Slope

• Previous failed revegetation attempts

• Placing topsoil a safety concern.

• Native seed mix

• No fertilizer used


In the spring of 2011, officials at the Indiana Veterans Home in Lafayette, IN decided to repair a severe slope failure that had occurred on the property. The failure left them with a severe 1.8: 1 slope to repair.

Revegetating with native plants can be highly effective when two key components are recognized: their need for lower nitrogen in the soils to inhibit unwanted weed growth and their need for increased soil microbial activity.


The engineering firm of Lawson Fischer contacted D2 Land and Water Resources for suggestions on how to vegetate and stabilize the site. The slopes were so severe that there were safety concerns with placing and keeping topsoil on the slope. In the place of using topsoil on the project, D2 Land and Water recommended utilizing Biotic Earth Black, a Biotic Soil Amendment (BSA), applied at a rate of 4,000 lbs. per acre, as well as Earthbound Scientific at a rate of 175 lbs.

In June of 2011 Biotic Earth Black was applied over the existing subsoil. A native seed mix was mixed and applied at the same time as the Biotic Earth, thus allowing for a one step process. The contractor then covered the material with a permanent turf reinforcement mat (TRM) with a coconut fiber component- useful in regulating temperature and moisture for the seed. The TRM provided immediate protection from the erosive forces that could affect the slope, and the Biotic Earth Black provided the organic material, beneficial bacteria, and soil mycorrhizae the plants needed to thrive on the site. The TRM was anchored to the slope using 3’ lengths of rebar.


By the fall of 2011, the native plants, which normally can take up to three years to fully establish, had begun to fill in and stabilize the slope. Germination rates of the various plants were observed to be higher than what was normally expected using that native seed mix. Since the fall of 2012, the site is fully covered in dense vegetation, which combined with the TRM, protects the slope from the threat of erosion and slope failure.

This project also shows that in areas where topsoil is not practical a soil amending approach utilizing a Biotic Soil Amendment such as Biotic Earth is a successful solution.

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Sunset Farms Landfill – Manor, TX

TRM Project Profile: Sunset Farms Landfill – Manor, TX


• Poor vegetation results with fully synthetic TRM.

• Extremely long slopes.

• Extreme heat during installation and seeding.

• Green TRM required.

• 16’ width ideal for site.

Sunset Farms landfill before germination. Coconut blankets can be seen on the downslope side of berms. Installation Summer and Fall of 2016.

PS42 Installed on upslope of berms showing the straw included in the matrix- vital for heat mitigation and moisture retention.


Previous attempts to revegetate using a fully synthetic TRM (Turf Reinforcement Mat) on other areas of the Sunset Farms Landfill in Manor, TX (just outside of Austin) had not reached satisfactory density vegetation for Republic Services.


A solution of using PS42 manufactured by ECBVerdyol, a permanent TRM that has a biodegradable matrix added to the permanent fibers, was suggested by Justin Hitchcock of JTEX Contracting and Larry Hans and Joel Denofrio of Innovative Soil Solutions for the current 105 acre portion of the project. All vegetated shear stress values are determined by testing only on the permanent fibers in the product – so long term design strength is not of concern with a product such as this with a biodegradable component. The addition of the biodegradable straw fibers to a synthetic TRM is vital in such hot dry climates. They significantly moderate the evapotranspiration rates, prevent the mat from heating up to a point where it could impede seed germination and expression, and holds moisture in the seed bed better than their fully synthetic counterparts.


Vegetation results far exceeded those achieved on the other portion of the site that had utilized a fully synthetic TRM. Especially in the areas installed and seeded during the hottest part of the Central Texas summer. The reduction in heat and the increase in the moisture retention was of significant benefit to re-vegetating the site.