Field evaluation of compost and mulches for erosion control

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Risse, L. Mark
Faucette, L. Britt
Gaskin, Julia W.
Jordan, Carl F.
Cabrera, Miguel L.
West, Larry T.
Hatcher, Kathryn J.
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Soil erosion is one of the largest contributors to nonpoint source pollution in Georgia. The use of surface applied organic amendments has been shown to reduce runoff and erosion and improve vegetative establishment on degraded soils such as those common to Georgia. In this study, four types of compost blankets, hydroseed, silt fence, and a bare soil (control) were applied in field test plots. Treatments were seeded with common bermuda grass. Simulated rainfall was applied at an average rate equivalent to a 50 yr one-hour storm event, and runoff samples were collected and analyzed for solids as well as runoff quantity. Three simulated rain events were conducted: immediately after treatment application, at vegetation establishment, and at vegetation maturity. In the short term, compost treatments produced significantly less runoff than the hydroseeded and bare soil plots. All treatments proved better than the control at reducing solids loss. Total solids loads were as much as 350% greater from the hydroseeded plots compared to the composts during the first storm and as much as 36 times greater during the second storm. Vegetative growth and nutrient loss data were also evaluated.
Sponsored by: Georgia Environmental Protection Division U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Water Science Center U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Water Resources Institute The University of Georgia, Water Resources Faculty
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