Slope Stabilization Techniques

Slope stabilization refers to all the measures undertaken with the aim of preventing soil erosion and landslides on unstable surfaces. Knowledge of these techniques are crucial in maintaining soil stability, land rehabilitation & reclamation, as well as erosion control. Various human activities normally interfere with the natural soil structure. These include the construction of buildings and other physical infrastructure, agriculture, deforestation, etc.

When the above-mentioned activities occur especially along a slope, they destabilize the land and leave it bare, exposing it to various agents of erosion as well as landslides. Erosion results in the loss of precious top-soil layers useful for agricultural activities. Landslides, on the other hand, can lead to massive destruction of property in addition to loss of both human and animal life. It is for this reason that landslide & slope stabilization procedures should be considered whenever human activities take place on slopes. Below are some effective soil stabilization techniques:

Retainer walls

Retaining walls are structures erected to hold back debris and soil at an acute angle. They are Very effective especially when there is limited space. Low retainer walls at the foot of a slope facilitate the grading of a slope back to an appropriate angle which enhances re-vegetation without soil erosion at the top. What’s more these structures have the ability to prevent scour on the foot of the slope and reduce degradation of cut slopes.

Rock slope protection

This technique is appropriate for areas that are difficult to re-vegetate. Typically, rock slope protection is complementary to retainer walls as it is applied on surfaces with steep gradients on top of retaining walls. Implementing this process can at times be time-consuming. However, it can bring highly beneficial outcomes. Rock slope protection is a low-maintenance procedure that effectively controls soul erosion. You need to contemplate using this method when the hydrologic condition cannot allow an alternative landslide & slope stabilization practices. Furthermore, this method should not be used in areas whereby it can potentially pose a public safety risk.

Terracing, rounding and slope roughening

This method can be used to apply changes to steps, benches, terraces, as well as various other areas to curtail the possibility of erosion. It is most appropriate for large cut slopes and fill cut slopes. However, the process is very ineffective when done on decayed granitic soils. It is necessary to periodically inspect the structures to monitor the quality of the land. The installation can differ based on the land area. Therefore, a lot of prior oversight is necessary while implementing the method.

Mulches

Constructing temporary or permanent barriers through the use of mulches can offer significant stability to a given area. This assists in preventing rain drop impact and soil erosion. Likewise, it can potentially reduce runoff speed as well. Mulching can be done using pine needles, hyromulch and wood chips. This technique is highly effective in regions that bear no vegetation. Nevertheless, it does not work well on steep slopes, sandy soils or wetlands.

Erosion control mats & blankets

These are normally used to temporarily control erosion and are placed in direct contact with the soil. Erosion control mats & blankets is a very cost-effective soil conservation method especially on graded construction sites. They are also useful in stabilizing drainage channels and other waterways. Erosion mats and blankets can be beneficial to some people, as these materials require minimal maintenance and can be found in a variety of widths and sizes. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to use this method on its own. The downside is that the mats and blankets can smother small animals and might fail on unprepared soils. They also so not offer long-term solutions.

Land is a very valuable resource that should be used in a responsible manner, and conserved at all costs. Slopes and hilly areas are at most risk from erosion and landslides. Efficient slope stabilization procedures are thus necessary in such areas.

 

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