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    Vegetated Buffers - VIDEO

    Hey Everybody,

    We have a quick video tip for you:  Vegetated Buffers.  

    John and crew recently did a big job over at the Prairie City Off Highway Vehicle Park.  One of the major techniques used on the site was the use of vegetated buffers in order to filter sediment out of water as it runs into the creek.  A nice little tip, enjoy!


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      Vegetated Buffers - VIDEO - WatchYourDirt- Blog - WatchYourDirt.Com: Home of Dirt Time - The Erosion and Sediment Control BMP Show
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      Vegetated Buffers - VIDEO - WatchYourDirt- Blog - WatchYourDirt.Com: Home of Dirt Time - The Erosion and Sediment Control BMP Show
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      Vegetated Buffers - VIDEO - WatchYourDirt- Blog - WatchYourDirt.Com: Home of Dirt Time - The Erosion and Sediment Control BMP Show

    Reader Comments (3)

    As James points out, grass can be a useful means of reducing your sediment load, but only under specific circumstances. They are: sheet flow, low velocity. small depth, and COARSE–GRAINED SEDIMENT. This technique is quite unsuitable for fine or dispersive clays.

    Trapping fine sediments is important for reducing nutrient run-off as silts and clays as these tend to be enriched with P, and particulate organic matter (high in N) tend to behave as clay-sized particles.

    In big storms, grass filter strips may be less than useless,tending to release these trapped particles into the large flow (as do some wetlands) unless the grasses have grown sufficiently to trap the underlying sediment. Thus they will be better in summer than winter. Australia is characterised by fine-grained soils, and studies here indicate buffer widths of 30m may be required to be effective.

    A useful paper is:

    August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBIll Gardyne

    I agree with the comment about the effectiveness of a vegetated buffer on course grain soils as opposed to fine grain soils. I personally would not rely soley on a 6' vegetated buffer for clay type soils unless it was a small area of disturbance with relatively mild slopes.

    As with other BMPs, one should always take into consideration timing, the size of the potential soil disturbance, soil type and steepness of slopes above vegetated buffers or sensitive areas.

    It's also worth mentioning that some local regulatory agencies have strict regulations protecting vegetated buffers, especially those that are in good condition i.e. large canopy with plenty of shrubs and a herbacious layer.

    Vegetated buffers serve an important function in protecting water quality and are considered by some to be the last line of defense before storm water enters a stream or other sensitive areas. If buffers are impacted by excessive sediment deposition to the point that impacts native vegetation, remediation and/or enhancement may be required.

    September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony Gilbertson

    Great comments. Looks like even some "scientific studies" support the use and effectiveness of them. The conditions of effectiveness are related to sheet flow and the particle size whereby concentrated flows, high flows and fine grained-clays being much less effective and while sheet flows, low flows and coarser grained soils makes the vegetative buffer most effective. The effectiveness of the buffers can certainly be enhanced by "widening" (Bill G. from Australia mentions 30-feet wide!!

    My personal goal is to improve awareness of the ridiculous reliance on silt fence and then reduce the improper placement and installation of same. Just think about how much silt fence is used in construction of our State and Federal Highway systems alone! At what cost?? to the environment (it all get buried in landfills and I personally have seen more erosion CAUSED by silt fence than any sediment they were intended to collect. Very sad commentary but in my experience, true. I wish there were rigorous studies done on Silt Fence effectiveness, like the study done in Australia. And not studies performed by manufacturers or suppliers, under controlled conditions with silt fence installed as intended, No no. Rather a study that evaluated silt fence as it is ACTUALLY installed and used, in Ca., Kansas, New Zealand, Alaska, Colorado, etc. How effective is silt fence when "placed around the perimeter of construction site" - disregarding the topography or flows or drainage areas contributing to the silt fence. How many out there actually design and install silt fence so it has a J-hook or a return or a "smile" so it can actually pond water??
    Then, when those studies are done, we could compare the use of Vegetated Buffer Strips - I betcha the buffer strips would be more cost effective by a magnitude or two!!
    Am I all wet?

    September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn McCullah

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