One pipeline erosion control measure that is easy to implement and cost-effective is the installation of brush mattresses.
What Are Brush Mattresses?
Brush mattresses are a combination of live fascines, live stakes, and branch cuttings that can be put on a streambank as a pipeline erosion control measure. Brush mattresses help to stabilize streambanks by significantly reducing runoff. The beds are placed directly on the streambank, making for a simple installation.
Brush mattresses also encourage natural vegetative growth, one of the most effective pipeline erosion control measures. When the roots of the plants take hold, the soil is stabilized. The plants act as a natural barrier to prevent downhill runoff from occurring. Brush mattresses are environmentally-friendly and encourage the growth of native plants.
Brush mattresses should be installed during the non-growing seasons because the mattresses rely upon dormant cuttings. Although it is not always possible to pinpoint an ideal installation timeframe, early spring tends to work best.
Installing Brush Mattresses
Brush mattresses are a practical solution on any streambank, especially those with steep embankments and fast-flowing streams. Begin by grading a streambank to the desired angle, using the topsoil removed when digging for the pipeline. For the most effective use of brush mattresses, grade the streambank at a 2:1 ratio.
Next, branches should be laid down perpendicular to the stream using as many as necessary so that it is practically impossible to see the flow through the branches. This serves as the base of the streambank. From there, install brush mattresses and as much soil as possible to the mat. Learn more about installing brush mattresses here.
A Comprehensive Revegetation Strategy
Although brush mattresses can be a useful pipeline erosion control measure, they should not be the sole solution. In fact, brush mattresses can end up making it more difficult for any future vegetative plants, especially as the mats become more established. Consult erosion control experts like Submar to learn about the best long-term vegetation strategy for your project.