Many terms have been used to describe the engineering use of plant materials for slope stabilization – soil bioengineering, biotechnical stabilization, biostabilization, green engineering, biotechnical erosion control – but the underlying concept for all terms is the use of plants (sometimes in combination with other reinforcement materials) to reduce the erosive forces of water and increase soil’s resistance to those erosive forces.
Biotechnical stabilization is not a new concept. There are numerous references from the 1930s that advocated biotechnical designs. After World War II these techniques seemed to have lost favor to the hard engineering approaches that rely heavily on rock, concrete, and steel. However, the growing concern for more ecologically-beneficial solutions has renewed interest in biotechnical approaches.
Biotechnical methods provide an ecologically-superior alternative to conventional erosion control methods, such as rock and concrete riprap. These low-impact, and generally lower-cost methods can provide effective streambank stabilization while minimizing damage and disruption to instream and upland habitats. All streambank erosion control practices will be subject to maintenance requirements. However, biotechnical techniques have the potential to self-repair since they are living systems. Because these treatments generally strengthen and improve over time, maintenance costs are generally minimal as well. Biotechnical methods are considered especially appropriate for environmentally sensitive areas where improved recreation, aesthetics, fish & wildlife habitat, or native plants are highly desirable. Receive an electronic copy of the Club EcoBlu white paper email@example.comTweet