Research has been carried out on using compost as an erosion control solution in both Australia and the USA. It is a sensible option to provide a seeded growing medium while stabilizing sites in need of rehabilitation, and in the process diverting potential landfill. As this is a relatively new way of solving run-off and soil erosion issues, there has been much research to make sure it is the better option.Australia: Trials with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
The EPA has released a fact sheet titled “Controlling soil erosion on construction sites using compost blankets.” It found that “compost blankets are twice as effective as hydromulch at reducing run-off during rain events, and have comparable soil erosion benefits.”
It also has a fact sheet on “controlling soil erosion on construction sites using compost blankets”.
To go to the EPA page with both fact sheet links, click here.
The research was carried out at the University of Western Sydney and compared hydromulching with Ecoblanket ® applied by The Hills BARK BLOWER ® Business. The results indicate that it is as good or better to apply a seeded Ecoblanket rather than hydromulching on sites such as roadside cuttings and reclaimed mines.USA
There are a long list of trials and tests that have been carried out in the USA that provide proof of the benefits of using compost based erosion control products.San Diego State University Soil Erosion Research Laboratory Results from a Study of EcoBlanket and EcoBerm:
Runoff Characteristics and Sediment Retention under Simulated Rainfall Conditions
The data from this series of tests appear to support the use of EcoBlanket and EcoBerm to reduce runoff and off-site delivery of sediment from steep slopes. One of the beneficial functions of compost is to slow runoff water velocities and retain a certain amount of water within its organic matrix. The research appears to support the conclusion that once saturated, compost releases water at a steady rate. This is important because with some soils, total absorption of runoff water might not be beneficial for slope stability or establishment of vegetation.
To download a copy of the results conclusion, click here.BBC Laboratories test to quantify and benchmark erosion control properties of compost
For some time the benefits of compost have been known but little research has been done to document the causes of these benefits. The goals of this research are to identify and increase the beneficial microorganisms for erosion control and ultimately increase the erosion control effectiveness of compost.Below is an excerpt from the test results:
“The organic matter in the compost is critical in areas where topsoil has been removed and revegetation is necessary. …The organic matter also serves as a substrate for the growth of microbial populations that assist in building soil structure, which will naturally be more resistant to erosion. …This soil structure is also appropriate for good plant root development, which is ultimately critical in soil erosion prevention.”