The Great Plains are known for many things with one of the most noted being mile upon mile of fertile cropland. Poor soils are not often associated with this breadbasket of our nation. However, during construction much or all of the topsoil from a location is often removed leaving extremely poor subsoils exposed that are devoid of organics, nutrients and pore space thus not allowing water and air migration within the soil. This was exactly the case for an area of road construction just outside Aurora, Nebraska for the Nebraska Department of Roads. The topsoil on this site had been removed during the road construction leaving a large area of exposed subsoils. On numerous attempts the contractor had tried to reestablish vegetation using just erosion control measures to no avail. The site would not vegetate! Worse yet, the soil was a highly erosive loess material composed of high silt content that had little nutrient holding capacity.
So even if the vegetation became established it would have been very difficult to sustain the vegetation for the long term erosion protection of the slope.
The Verdyol Plant Research Biotic Earth Black was selected for use after being recommended by Steve Pudenz with Lumbermen’s in Omaha, Nebraska on this road cut slope to show its overall ability to assist in the revegetation efforts for the Nebraska Department of Roads. It was felt that the Biotic Earth Black’s unique qualities like its combination of straw, flexible flax fibers, high concentration of peat moss and other proprietary soil building and plant growth and development materials along with the companies EarthBound 2000 Soil Stabilizer would provide the needed improvement to the soil. In addition, these products would assist in rapid topsoil development along with vegetation establishment and the long-term sustainability of the site at a much lower cost than transporting and spreading topsoil to the site. The peat was especially important addition because of its high cation exchange capacity and thus its ability to hold nutrients in the root zone where the plants need them. The mineral material of the soil was present on the site from the subsoil, the Biotic Earth Black and EarthBound 2000 would mimic Mother Nature in a more expedited manner by adding just what was needed to build topsoil.
Even with the use of a high performance BFM, the site did not develop vegetation (photo on left). Excellent vegetation establishment was achieved on the site through soil building afforded through the use of a Hydraulic Growth Medium along with the same BFM previously tried where other methods of just using an erosion control material were unable to establish vegetation (photo on right).
“We now have vegetation where before we had none.” as noted by Ronald Poe, RLA, CPESC, Highway Environmental Program Manager, Nebraska Department of Roads.
The site prior to the use of Biotic Earth Black where nothing was growing (photo on left). The same area after the addition of Biotic Earth Black. The vegetation will continue to grow and become more lush into the future as soil building continues on this site (photo on right).
An excellent diversity of vegetation was established with the aid of the Biotic Earth Black on the site where before nothing would grow.