This project stabilized a 6,000 sq ft area of sidehill as part of rebuilding a section of old Route 8 that was washed out by Tropical Storm Irene. We used a seeded/netted compost blanket and compost filter sock to stabilize and revegetate the bank.
Our goal with this project is to demonstrate the use of compost-based Best Management Practies (BMPS) to: remediate heavily eroded sidehills; and to show how these same techniques can improve the flood resiliency of fragile and/or depleted soils and thus avoid future catastrophic failure.
These practices can also trap sediment and toxins that travel from soils and roadways during rain events and would otherwise end up in surface waters. Compost-based BMPs are typically cost-competitive and as in this case provide a remediation solution not otherwise available.
Outcomes for an Uncertain Climate Future
Climate change is challenging us to rethink how we manage and care for our agricultural land, forests, waterways, and built environments. Action that can improve resiliency and protect intact ecosystems is increasingly acknowledged as one way to prepare for the uncertainty in our climate future. Decades of research, notably at Rodale Institute, and a case study* of agroecological resistance after Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua, has demonstrated that increasing soil’s organic matter (with covercropping and compost) provides critical soil structure that improves the function of soil, including its capacity to withstand weather extremes – drought and torrential rains. Healthy, high functioning soils produce more resilient plants with stronger root systems and disease resistance.
Demonstration projects are used throughout the world, and are a well-documented way to promote behavior change. Climate change demands behavior change. Adaptation will benefit from models that improve the resiliency and function of our natural resources – and with it humanity’s capacity to cope.