How to Control Erosion and Restore Your Shoreline WebinarQ&A with Our Industry Experts
Following our recent educational presentation on erosion control, our experts reviewed and discussed questions from our audience. There were so many great questions we just couldn’t get to! Take a look at their answers and learn more about the erosion control solutions you can implement to help restore your damaged shoreline.
Did you miss the erosion control webinar? Watch the recording here.
1. When are erosion control solutions needed and when can you tell it’stime to repair the shoreline? Erosion is prevalent in nature and needs to be dealt with when it negatively affects the use and enjoyment of personal property. It’s time to repair eroded hillsides and shorelines when the eroded area becomes aesthetically displeasing, a potential liability to those that use the area for enjoyment or for those that maintain the property. 2. What are some methods to slow down or prevent erosion before repair isnecessary? One of the main causes of erosion is rain and water. So how do we slow this down? Vegetative buffers. The roots of native vegetation help slow stormwater runoff and keep soil in place. In addition, we encourage you to keep an eye on your inflow and outflow structures. Controlling the water flow will reduce the risk of damage and, therefore, slow down the need for repair. 3. What are some of the best plants that promote healthy water quality and shoreline stabilization? Should they be planted in the water or into the shoreline?There numerous options when it comes to planting a vegetative buffer. Native species like duck potato, pickerelweed, water orchids, arrow arum, lizard’s tail, bull rush and sedges are all great plants to incorporate into your shoreline, as well as in the water along the banks. Both forms of plantings promote stability as well as reduce nutrient loading. 4. What permits, if any, are needed from any governmental authority before installing ShoreSOX or DredgeSOX? Historically, the installation of SOX systems has been exempted from permitting because it is considered maintenance, not construction. With that being said, each project is different and a consultation with a service provider or installer will be necessary to determine if any permits are needed or required.5. Can erosion control management be an annual service? Yes, erosion control can be an annual management service. When a specialist is out managing your waterbody for algae, for example, they will also be able to keep an eye on your shoreline during each visit. This consistent monitoring will prevent erosion effects from going unnoticed and facilitate swift remediation as needed. Another benefit of annual erosion control services relates to budget. If you have a lengthy shoreline with a lot of problems, your budget may not support a full restoration project. Under an annual management program, erosion control can be completed in smaller sections until the shoreline is repaired. 6. Can SOX only be used on freshwater ecosystems? The SOX system is widely accepted in freshwater, brackish and saltwater. Additionally, it is often deployed far above the water line or on hillsides and berms where no water is prevalent.7. What are the possibilities with dredging as an erosion control solution and does dredging need to happen before installing an erosion control product?Dredging, silt, sediment and organics removal has become a significant part of erosion control and lake depth reestablishment by taking those dredge spoils and using them in the SOX system to establish the new stable shoreline. We achieve two goals with one combined effort. We achieve deeper, healthier lakes and stable shorelines to enjoy. Dredging doesn’t need to occur before installing a SOX system since the dredging will occur simultaneously with the install. 8. Do rocks, rip rap and trees serve as a good solution to erosion? Trees are not a good solution to erosion. While trees are beautiful, their extensive root systems can weaken the stability of that bank. You can be fined if you allow trees to grow near the spillway of a stormwater retention pond. Rocks, rip rap and bulkheads are suitable options for erosion control, however, they are not as stable and long-lasting as the SOX Systems. If you do have rock or rip rap present and decide to go for a different look, the SOX systems can be installed over those materials to create a more natural living shoreline. 9. What are some effective ways to restore shoreline stone retainingwalls that are durable, yet natural with minimal impact to the lake’s ecosystem?There are a couple ways you can effectively restore your stone retaining walls. Continuing to provide additional rip rap on an annual basis when needed can be an effective restoration method. Another natural way to restore your shoreline is creating a buffer zone. Planting a buffer in front of those retaining walls will lessen erosion’s effects. Deploying SOX Systems is another option. Whether its DredgeSOX or ShoreSOX, we can incorporate some stone to create a combination of living shorelines adjacent to decorative stone structures. In these systems, the stone has minimal erosion control function and the SOX stabilizes the environment so the stone stays in place.10. What are some ways you can protect your shoreline from rodents and other wildlife? There isn’t a definite answer to this question. Many people trap and move rodents to another pond. We know that SOX systems are very difficult for rodents to chew through. We have had clients who experienced rodent issues and once SOX was installed the rodents and wildlife were not able to disturb the shoreline. Wildlife is always going to be present and difficult to control. Working with a specialist that is familiar with your particular situation is the first step you should take. 11. What is the best solution for properties with varying high-water levels that can go 10 feet over the shoreline? One of the most important aspects of a shoreline is a vegetative buffer. Planting a buffer at the high-water mark will help keep your shoreline in place. SOX systems are also a great solution for these types of properties. Originally, SOX was developed in Minnesota with the expectation of varying water levels as well as ice heaving and sheeting. Because these systems are anchored to upland solid substrate, we have the ability to adapt to most environments and can use a combination of materials, like rock, or organics inside the SOX depending on those unique environments. Coconut logs are not anchored to a solid substrate which causes them to shift with varying water, therefore, they are not recommended for waterbodies with high-water levels.12. We have some islands where trees have fallen that once held back the hillside soils. What can we do to rehabilitate those banks? If SOX is your management solution, the SOX systems would be used to reestablish the previously existing edge line of those shore banks. These systems use local organics specific to that environment and can be used to re-vegetate portions of the berms of the islands with either mature trees or any acceptable local vegetation. An alternative to SOX would be step terraces. Developing a step terrace using rip rap will help rebuild the damaged banks and protect your hillside from more erosion effects.13. Do you have any tips on how to present shoreline management to people who don’t like others telling them “what to do with their property”?It is common to find groups that can’t agree on one management method. The one thing you can’t argue is water quality. Vegetative buffers, SOX material and coconut fiber logs all filter excess nutrients from entering the waterbody and causing water quality issues like algae blooms and invasive aquatic plants. If you present shoreline management as a water quality control method, it’s hard to disagree. 14. Can you plant vegetation within the coconut fiber logs safely? What about the SOX systems? Yes. You can plant into the coconut fiber logs but they do not have rip stop technology. You will shorten the life of the material by cutting into them. We recommend you plant behind the coconut logs if you are looking to plant along the shoreline. SOX material, on the other hand, works like a rip stop; therefore, you can easily and safely plant native species directly into the SOX. The SOX material also provides good media for the roots to grow through which helps to secure them better.15. With the DredgeSOX, what material do you pump? The sediment? Organic material too?The DredgeSOX will accept any dredge material as well as a combination of dry added materials during the insertion of organics. Organics, sands, clay, soils, rock, shells and any water-based fill will be acceptable in the DredgeSOX. The water will filter back out of the material and the organic soil will be left to secure the shoreline.16. How do you evaluate a site to determine which of the three SOX options to pick? Most sites can use any of the material provided but it depends a lot on cost and needs. For example, the ShoreSOX or DredgeSOX can be used interchangeably, the only difference is the material that is used to fill them. If your pond is experiencing shoreline erosion and also requires sediment removal, then the DredgeSOX is your best option. Rather than hauling dredged materials away from the site, you can use it to reconstruct the shoreline. If you chose the ShoreSOX, you will need to bring in outside sediment or materials. The SOXFence is more of a temporary solution and used mostly in construction sites or applications where other silt fences would be used. 17. Can these bank repairs be completed at any time or is it better to wait for the dry season, especially in Florida? They can be completed most anytime but heavy rains could cause a muddy mess, so it would be best to do it without the heavy rains. Small afternoon showers will not hurt the install. In addition, as long as the ground is not frozen, installs can occur at any point during the year. 18. Can you use this product at the initial construction phase of ponds? Yes, you could. When deploying SOX as a post-erosion solution, there are significant potential restorative issues; the eroded environment itself, the loss of littoral shelf stability or existence, the loss of riparian buffer, the excess nutrient load in the waterbody, the general loss of the biosystem. But if SOX is deployed during the construction/development stage, the stable environment will lead to a long lasting, bioengineered, vegetated, healthy waterbody and all of its tangential components. 19. Some aquatic plants spread through tubers, can they spread through the matting and sprout? It all depends on the type of plants. Not all plants spread by tubers. Some are seeds as well. The material is good at providing a barrier to prevent the spreading of plant species. The knitted material works much like weed barrier matts that are put down under mulch. The SOX system acts much like raw earth and supports the vegetative process. The difference is that the added stability allows for the ability to “manage” the vegetation of choice since more mature plants have a high likelihood of survival.20. Can you talk about the importance of re-sloping the shoreline? Ours currently has a drop off of 2-3 ft. Do more issues arise the steeper it gets? Re-sloping your shoreline is extremely important. With a damaged shoreline, it becomes easier for run-off to enter your waterbody. Another issue that arises due to steep slopes is difficulty establishing a vegetative buffer. The steeper the incline, the tougher it is to plant along the shoreline which can lead to an unstable bank. A smooth incline will promote a healthy vegetative buffer which can stabilize your shoreline and filter out excess run-off before it enters your waterbody.