Topsoil erosion is one of the biggest environmental issues facing our world today. According to the World Wildlife Federation, half of all topsoil on the planet has eroded away over the past 150 years. And unfortunately, not only is it nearly impossible to retrieve eroded soil, but it also causes significant pollution problems when it reaches rivers or oceans.
What can you do to reduce topsoil erosion? While the construction industry presents several hazards that can contribute to water runoff or further erosion, a few changes to your equipment or routine could help to drastically reduce erosion at your location. Here are a few strategies to get you started.
Observe & Plan Ahead
Before construction begins, visit your worksite and take a look around. Is the ground sloped or covered in loose soil? What nearby ground or features could be affected by water runoff?
Additionally, take note of anything you can potentially use to prevent erosion. For instance, if your excavation requires you to remove trees, bring a mulcher along and convert the trees into mulch to cover the exposed ground. Not only will this help the soil stay in place after your project is done, but it will also prevent the trees from simply going to waste.
Pro Tip: Soil runoff from a construction project not only erodes the landscape but can also pour silt into rivers. Set up silt fencing to prevent severe soil runoff from occurring.
Cover the Ground
Mulch isn’t your only option to cover exposed soil. You can temporarily cover small areas with plastic sheets, or for a long-term solution, plant grass seeds to hold the ground in place. Once the excavation is complete, talk with your landscaper or local wildlife experts to find the best species of grass to sow. Whatever you ultimately choose, make sure the ground is adequately protected against further erosion.
Don’t be in a Rush
Despite your best efforts, erosion can still occur if you rush your project. Take a little extra time to excavate only one portion of the worksite at a time and cover the ground before you move on to the next one. Try to disrupt the local ecosystem as little as possible. The additional time required to do a good job will be worth the reduction in erosion and its associated costs.
Minimize Erosion in Your Projects
Sediment control should be one of your primary concerns as you work to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. No matter what your project entails, it’s not difficult to implement strategies to help protect the local ecosystem. Take care to observe your worksite and plan ahead to prevent erosion in construction projects.