Whether you are clearing land for major construction or just for a small backyard project, erosion control needs to be at the top of your concerns. Erosion is usually prevented by the existing vegetation, which means a single wind event or rain storm can lead to major erosion issues as soon as you clear that vegetation away. The following are a few techniques to control erosion issues when clearing land.
1. Clear Out Existing Drainage Features
Start any clearing activity with the current drainage features on the property. If there are culverts, creeks, or drainage ponds on the property that are choked with vegetation, it is likely that they will overflow from the runoff once you clear the surrounding land. Taking a few hours to a day to clear out the debris, including brush and dead marsh grasses, that have clogged up these natural drainage features can prevent flooding on your property.
2. Maintain Erosion Control Islands
Avoid fully clearing a lot if you can. It's a wise idea to leave strips of vegetation between the cleared area and the property line or edge of the construction site. A strip several feet wide provides a buffer zone so that major erosion from wind or rain can't occur. In the event that a vegetative strip isn't possible, lay down hay bales or straw rolls around the perimeter of the clearing area to help minimize erosion.
3. Install Slope Drainage Diverters
Clearing on a slope poses a major risk for erosion. It only takes a small amount of rain to wash away all the top soil on the slope. Before clearing begins, have drainage diverters installed upslope from the clearing area. As water flows down the slope, the diverters will route it away from the clearing activity, which in turn will help prevent major erosion.
4. Cover Sewer Grates
Another side effect of erosion on cleared land is clogged sewers and culvert pipes. Even with the best efforts, some erosion is likely to occur during the clearing process. Prepare by covering the sewer and culvert grates with geotextile tarps to minimize the amount of sediment that gets inside. This will slow drainage, but it will also prevent topsoil from eroding into the sewers and causing major blockages.
5. Use Erosion Control Promptly
At the end of every work day, the cleared area needs to be covered before packing up for the night. Use tarps, straw, or mulch to cover the bare soil. In the event there is rain or wind, this covering will prevent heavy erosion from occurring.
Contact a land clearing service for more help.