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If your shoreline is showcasing the initial signs of erosion, it’s important to develop an erosion control plan. This can also be important as a prevention method, especially if you’re working on a new site and need to safeguard against future damage.

While there are many different elements that can be included in an erosion control plan (depending on the specific needs of the site), there are certain elements that should always be included. Let’s discuss those elements and why they’re important.  

What’s included in an erosion control plan?

  1. Define what shoreline erosion is and what the consequences are
  2. Determine what’s contributing to the erosion
  3. Identify a solution to control erosion
  4. Implement your plan and monitor its effectiveness over time
  5. Make changes to your plan as needed to ensure effective erosion control

Step 1: Define what erosion is and what the consequences are

Shoreline erosion is the gradual loss of landmass along a shoreline. It can be caused by a number of factors, including but not limited to waves, rain, and human activity.

While shoreline erosion can be a naturally occurring phenomenon, it can also pose serious problems for humans who live nearby. One of the most serious consequences is the loss of property. This occurs when houses or other structures built too close to the shore get eroded away by wind and waves. In some cases, people have had to abandon their homes altogether due to severe shoreline erosion. 

On top of this, shoreline erosion can also have serious environmental impacts. The loss of vegetation due to erosion can damage habitats for fish, birds, and other animals. Erosion also can pollute water with sediment and chemicals that are harmful to plants and animals. 

Step 2: Determine what’s contributing to the erosion

There are a number of factors that contribute to erosion on your property, and before you finalize an erosion control plan, it’s important to understand which factor (or factors) is contributing to the erosion. Here are some examples of factors that can contribute to shoreline erosion. 

  1. Slope: the steeper the slope of your land, the greater the potential for erosion 
  2. Soil type: clay is less likely to erode away compared to silt
  3. Vegetation: vegetated areas help protect against erosion by stabilizing soils with their roots and by intercepting rainfall with their leaves
  4. Rainfall: heavy rains can cause runoff that carries eroded materials downhill 
  5. Development: construction activities such as grading and excavating can increase the potential for erosion by exposing bare soils to rainfall and runoff
  6. Drainage: poorly designed or poorly maintained drainage systems can contribute to erosion by carrying runoff onto unprotected or unintended areas of land 
  7. Wildlife: some animals such as beavers dam streams which causes water back-up and results in increased potential for bank erosion downstream 

Step 3: Identify a solution to control erosion

There are a variety of ways to control erosion along a shoreline. However, it’s important to work with an erosion control consultant to identify the best-fit solution for your needs and goals. Certain erosion control solutions can be more expensive, less long-term, and more time-consuming. To learn more about your options, check out our guide to erosion control solutions.

Step 4: Implement your plan and monitor its effectiveness over time

After carefully selecting an erosion control solution, it’s time for implementation. This may involve constructing or installing a physical barrier, planting vegetation, or implementing a different type of technique. However, the success of this solution can greatly depend on ongoing monitoring. 

It is important to regularly observe and assess the effectiveness of the solution in preventing erosion, as well as any potential negative impacts on the surrounding habitat. Making adjustments as necessary will ensure that the chosen solution continues to be effective in protecting the shoreline from erosion. Taking protective measures now can save time, money, and resources in the long run. And ultimately, it helps to safeguard and preserve our valuable ecosystems.

Step 5: Make changes to your plan as needed to ensure effective erosion control

As mentioned above, after implementing a plan, it is crucial to monitor the effectiveness of the solution and make adjustments as needed. For example, if a physical structure such as a riprap barrier has shifted or eroded over time, it may need to be repaired or replaced. On the other hand, if vegetation has been planted as part of the erosion control plan, regular maintenance such as trimming and replanting may be required to ensure continued effectiveness. By staying vigilant and making changes when necessary, shoreline erosion can be effectively controlled and managed in the long term.

Need help developing an erosion control plan? We’ve got you covered. At PondMedics, we help people all across the country effectively control erosion on their shorelines. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to start a conversation.