The Influence of Erosion Control Products on Vegetation Establishment

Project No: 124532

Target Completion Date: October 31, 2025 Environment, Planning, and Economics

About the project:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) uses rolled hydraulic erosion control products (HECP) along roadside ditches and slopes, embankments at stormwater management (SWM) facilities, and as a component of certain stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). These products are designed to mitigate erosion and provide an environment for vegetation to establish.  VDOT’s Road and Bridge Specifications list two categories of HECPs:  EC-2, which includes four types of degradable products and EC-3, which includes three types of non-degradable products.  VDOT staff have noted that although EC-3 products seem to be used more commonly than EC-2 products given their higher tensile strength and shear stress, they seem to inhibit vegetation establishment, particularly on slopes with steeper gradients.

The purpose of this study is to determine (1) whether the type of HECP used in VDOT projects affects vegetation establishment on steep slopes and (2) whether plant growth may also be affected by soil type, seed mix, and contractor installation methods.  The research team will aim to evaluate three study sites on steep slopes, each designed with plots that comprise the following: a minimum of two EC-2 products and a minimum of two EC-3 products, three types of seed mixes, and three soil types. Installation practices at each site will be documented and sites will be regularly monitored to determine vegetative growth.

The findings from this study can be used to support the implementation of improved practices for roadside vegetation establishment following VDOT construction activities.  Improved vegetation establishment will protect VDOT infrastructure and reduce soil erosion and associated environmental impacts.

Project Team

Co-Principal Investigators

Last updated: January 11, 2024

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: