Erosion Control Toolbox

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Welcome to the Caltrans Erosion Control Toolbox, a one-stop reference for erosion control standards and guidance. The purpose of this site is to provide Caltrans Landscape Architects with a single location that provides access to the information necessary to design successful, effective and cost efficient erosion control treatments.

NEW - Permanent Erosion Control Establishment Specifications

The new Permanent Erosion Control Establishment specification may be used on projects with challenging slope conditions. This set of specifications ensures that a Contractor will be available during the Erosion Control Establishment period to perform the repair work required to ensure the establishment of healthy, sustainable, long-term vegetation. For guidance on how to use this set of specifications, please click here.

Erosion Control Technical Guide

The Caltrans Technical Guide to Erosion Control Treatment, first presented in the "Key Concepts" Erosion Control training is now available online. Click here to download a copy of the Erosion Control Technical Guide. Please note that the "BMP Data Sheets" formerly included in the Technical Guide are available by clicking on the underlined links below.

Erosion Control Treatment Overview

The table below provides a general overview of various erosion control Best Management Practices (BMPs) together with a very rough idea of cost. Select the erosion control treatment(s) most suited to meet your project deficiencies.

Click on the hyper-link at left to obtain more specific information regarding a BMP.

IMPROVE SOIL HEALTH

  M A X. S L O P E ( H : V )   B E N E F I T S C O S T
  4:1
4:1
3:1
3:1
2:1
2:1
1.5:1
1.5:1
1:1
1:1
Cut or Fill? Soil Cover (1) Soil Health
(2)
Infiltration
(3)
Cost/Acre
(4)
Roughen Soil OK OK OK OK C/F Low Medium Medium -
Decompact Soil Dot Dot Not Recommended Not Recommended Not Recommended C/F Low Medium High -
Stepped Slopes N/A OK OK Medium Not Recommended C Low Medium Medium -
Local Topsoil OK OK OK Medium Not Recommended C/F Low High Medium -
Imported Topsoil OK OK OK Medium Not Recommended C/F Low Medium Medium -
Incorporate Materials Dot Dot Medium Not Recommended Not Recommended C/F Low High High -

PROVIDE SOIL COVER & IMPROVE SOIL HEALTH

  M A X. S L O P E ( H : V )   B E N E F I T S C O S T
4:1
4:1
3:1
3:1
2:1
2:1
1.5:1
1.5:1
1:1
1:1
Cut or Fill? Soil Cover (1) Soil Health (2) Infiltration
(3)
Cost/Acre
(4)
Duff Dot Dot Dot Medium Not Recommended C/F Medium High Medium $40,000
Mulch Dot Dot Dot Medium Not Recommended C/F Medium Medium Medium $20,000
Compost Blanket Dot Dot Dot Not Recommended Not Recommended C/F Medium High High $15,000

PROVIDE SHORT TERM SOIL COVER

  M A X. S L O P E ( H : V )   B E N E F I T S C O S T
  4:1
4:1
3:1
3:1
2:1
2:1
1.5:1
1.5:1
1:1
1:1
Cut or Fill? Soil Cover (1) Soil Health (2) Infiltration
(3)
Cost/Acre
(4)
Straw Dot Dot Dot Not Recommended Not Recommended F Medium Low   $12,000
Hydroseed Dot Dot Dot Not Recommended Not Recommended C/F Medium Low Low $10,000
Bonded Fiber Matrix Dot Dot Dot Dot Medium C/F Medium Low Low $15,000
RECP Jute Mesh Dot Dot Dot Not Recommended Not Recommended C/F Medium Low Low $12,000

PROVIDE LONG TERM SOIL COVER

  M A X. S L O P E ( H : V )   B E N E F I T S C O S T
  4:1
4:1
3:1
3:1
2:1
2:1
1.5:1
1.5:1
1:1
1:1
Cut or Fill? Soil Cover (1) Soil Health (2) Infiltration
(3)
Cost/Acre
(4)
RECP Netting (Type A) Dot Dot Not Recommended Not Recommended Not Recommended C/F High Low Low $35,000
RECP Netting (Type B) Dot Dot Dot Dot Medium C/F High Low Low $35,000
RECP Netting (Type C) Dot Dot Dot Dot Medium C/F High Low Low $35,000
RECP Blanket
(Type A)
N/A N/A Dot Dot Medium C/F High Low Low $25,000
RECP Blanket
(Type B)
N/A N/A Dot Dot Medium C/F High Low Low $25,000
RECP Blanket
(Type C)
N/A N/A Dot Dot Medium C/F High Low Low $25,000
RECP TRM (Type A) N/A N/A Dot Dot Not Recommended C/F High Low Low $30,000
RECP TRM (Type B) N/A N/A Dot Dot Dot C/F High Low Low $37,000
RECP TRM (Type C) N/A N/A Dot Dot Dot C/F High Low Low $45,000

STEEP SLOPE TECHNIQUES

  M A X. S L O P E ( H : V )   B E N E F I T S C O S T
  4:1
4:1
3:1
3:1
2:1
2:1
1.5:1
1.5:1
1:1
1:1
Cut or Fill? Soil Cover (1) Soil Health (2) Infiltration
(3)
Cost/Acre
(4)
Stepped Slopes N/A OK OK Medium Not Recommended C High Medium Medium -
Brush Layering N/A OK OK Dot Not Recommended F High Medium Medium -
RECP Flap N/A N/A Dot Dot Not Recommended F High Medium Medium $50,000
RECP Wrap N/A N/A Dot Dot Not Recommended F High Medium Medium $60,000
Soil Filled RSP N/A N/A Medium Dot Not Recommended C High Medium Medium -
Cellular Confinement N/A N/A Dot Dot Not Recommended C High Medium Medium $45,000
Wire Blanket N/A N/A N/A Dot Dot C High Medium Medium $100,000
Wire Mesh Confinement N/A N/A N/A Dot Dot F Medium Medium -

Legend (Benefits)

High Great Benefit

Medium Moderate Benefit

Low Minimal Benefit

(1) Treatments rated highly beneficial for soil cover include those that provide protection from raindrop impact and splash erosion. Treatments that provide good cover include loose mulches such as bark and compost, fiber included as part of hydroseeding, and rolled erosion control nets and blankets. (2) Treatments rated highly beneficial for soil health include those that improve soil texture, soil structure, fertility, and soil microbiology. Treatments that notably improve soil health include compost incorporate, duff, and reusing local topsoil. (3) Treatments rated highly beneficial for infiltration include those that slow runoff, improve soil structure and open up the soil texture to encourage infiltration of stormwater rather than encouraging runoff. Treatments that notably improve infiltration include compost incorporate, roughen soil and reusing local topsoil.  

Legend (Cost Information)

- Construction cost information not available. (4) Very rough estimate of construction cost per acre. Construction cost varies greatly due to size of area treated, accessibility, slope steepness, geographic location and economic health. For greater detail, click on the estimate number in the right-hand column.

Legend (Maximum Slope)

Dot  Recommended

Dot  May or may not be recommended based on site conditions. Check with your Geotechnical engineer.

Dot  Generally Not Recommended

N/A   Not Applicable - this treatment is typically not used in these conditions.

Legend (Benefits)

Great Benefit

Moderate Benefit

Minimal Benefit

Treatments rated highly beneficial for soil cover include those that provide protection from raindrop impact and splash erosion. Treatments that provide good cover include loose mulches such as bark and compost, fiber included as part of hydroseeding, and rolled erosion control nets and blankets.

Treatments rated highly beneficial for soil health include those that improve soil texture, soil structure, fertility, and soil microbiology. Treatments that notably improve soil health include compost incorporate, duff, and reusing local topsoil.

Treatments rated highly beneficial for infiltration include those that slow runoff, improve soil structure and open up the soil texture to encourage infiltration of stormwater rather than encouraging runoff. Treatments that notably improve infiltration include compost incorporate, roughen soil and reusing local topsoil.

What is the Goal?

When selecting and combining various erosion control treatments, it is important, foremost, to clearly identify "success". While the specific definition of "success" will vary depending upon specific site conditions, in general, a successful erosion control treatment will address three specific areas - soils, water, and vegetation.

The goal of effective erosion control is twofold:

  1. Maintain water quality - keep soils in place.
  2. Increase Infiltration - reduce runoff.

The Natural Environment As "Success"

In the natural environment, these goals are fulfilled by vegetation, mulch/duff, and porous soils. Vegetation and the mulch/duff layer protect the soil from raindrop impact and surface erosion. Healthy, porous soils infiltrate water reducing runoff, and provide the water necessary to sustain healthy vegetation. The mulch/duff layer protects the soil surface from erosion, provides nutrients to sustain vegetation, and feeds soil microorganisms that contribute to a well draining soil structure.

 

Updated: Dec. 15, 2016

Erosion Control Toolbox

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