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Soil Erosion Control from Construction Sites: An Important Aspect of Watershed Conservation

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  701P0904,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.17384)
Authors:   M. Pudasaini, S. Shrestha and S. Riley

Amount of sediment transported from a watershed is an important indicator to determine the extent of the watershed health. It is now well-conceived fact that the rate of soil erosion is an important variable for the sustainable watershed management and planning. This has escorted the development of numerous erosion prediction models in hillslope and/or watershed scale. Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is one of the easy to use yet efficient models developed after long time experience and experiments.

Although the global figure of soil erosion from the construction site is small as compared to that from agriculture activities, intensity of erosion is 10 to 20 times greater in the construction sites ranging from 20-200 ton/acre/year. So, the watersheds with massive construction activities are becoming vulnerable to soil erosion. Controlling such massive erosion from the construction sites has become a serious challenge to the conservation planners.

Data from six different erosion plot experiments with possible land use conditions in the construction sites were used to calibrate parameters of RUSLE in this study. Large-scale rainfall simulators developed in University of Western Sydney, Australia were used for 24 different events of rainfall simulation during the study. Calibrated parameters were used to evaluate the efficiency of some specific support practices to control soil erosion from construction sites. Study showed that mechanical methods of erosion control such as short grass strips, gravel bag and silt fencing are the efficient erosion control measures for the construction sites reducing soil erosion by 45%, 63% and 85% respectively.

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