Clearing the Way

| “In California, in the Bay area, treatment is everything,” says Kelly Rogers, general superintendent of offsite development for Robson Homes. “We’re a company building single-family homes within the city limits of very large cities in the Bay area.” The firm’s projects are often referred to as infill development. In many instances, Robson Homes projects begin with demolition of older structures for replacement with modern home sites; however, on occasion the company breaks new ground, converting sites from agricultural uses or from an undeveloped condition to a residential neighborhood. ... READ MORE

The Test of Time

| In channel stabilization, time is the test of the resiliency of a chosen solution. Several projects worldwide have demonstrated mitigation approaches that are making the grade. Case in point: the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is a 3.91-kilometer-long suspension bridge linking Kobe, the capital of the Hyōgo Prefecture on Honshu Island, to Iwaya on Awaji Island, also ... READ MORE

Retaining Walls: Structural Protection

| Retaining walls provide structural stability, protection to land or edifices behind the wall, security, navigation of slope grade changes, or a division of property or land use. Because the designed usage of retaining walls covers a broad scope, choosing the right materials for the correct application and the best price can often be a difficult or frustrating experience. ... READ MORE

Movin’ Down the Highway

| Two decades ago, while working as the erosion control supervisor in Orange County, NC, Warren Faircloth, the then-county inspector, frequently observed a recurring problem with sediment control on construction projects. ... READ MORE

Testing the Waters

| Urban stormwater runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution because it carries pollutants such as oil, grease, pesticides, fertilizer, animal waste, trash, debris, and other substances through storm drains and into lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. ... READ MORE

Slope Whisperers

| Cambridge, MA, maintains a series of three terminal reservoirs for drinking water. Fresh Pond has been one of the most prominent reservoirs in the city’s fleet of water sources and a favorite with the community, not just as a source of water, but also because of its role as a place of passive recreation. Surrounded by a golf course and playing fields, the grounds of the Fresh Pond Reservation are also canine friendly. It’s one of the few places where dog owners are permitted to let their pets cut loose and run wild and free off leash. The area is a reservation, rather than a city-owned park, and residents have been going there seeking refuge from the densely populated urban scene for generations. ... READ MORE

Hard-Armor Options for Protecting Roads and Bridges

| Hard-armor products are valuable tools in the tool chest of experts in erosion control and stormwater management. For some applications, softer alternatives such as erosion control blankets, turf reinforcement mats, and vegetation are appropriate. But many roads, bridges, and streambanks face destruction because of undercutting due to runoff or high water, and these situations require different solutions. Sometimes the combination of hard armor and the softer choices are the best solution. For example, hard armor might be installed along the streambank to above water level with erosion control blankets and vegetation stabilizing the top of the bank. ... READ MORE

Working With Nature Following Wildfire

| When you control water, you control nature. So why not use nature in your erosion and sediment control efforts? Many (if not all) erosion and sediment control practices attempt to control raindrops or runoff in one form or another, especially those that are applied to landscapes following wildfire. If you are not fully aware of the natural processes in play following fire (or what I like to refer to as “the nature connection”), then your erosion and sediment control efforts may fall short or even be self-defeating. ... READ MORE

Post-Fire Erosion Control Methods in the North San Francisco Bay Area

| In total, the North Bay fires of 2017 burned about 40,000 acres. The southern California fires were even larger, totaling 1 million acres. The fires burned a wide variety of landscapes, including whole neighborhoods in flat, urbanized areas. Unlike rural areas, these areas are served by urban infrastructure, including storm drain systems, which tie into natural waterways such as creeks, rivers, bays, and oceans. As part of the engineering community, we observed that the potential for mobilization of ash from burned lots posed a major challenge for communities recovering from urban fires. This article is intended for professionals interested in erosion control and water-quality issues in post-fire areas. ... READ MORE

Every Job and Every Day Are Different

| The hydroseeding machine and the crew may be the same as last month or last year, but every job is different. Each project has its own variables—tricky slopes, tight timelines, rain that just won’t quit, and more. Finding the right combination of seeds, mulch, and other ingredients so that soil stays intact and vegetation flourishes keeps the work interesting and challenging. ... READ MORE