Introduction

(Converted into web page from Ecology publication #93-30: Slope Stabilization Erosion Control Using Vegetation: A Manual of Practice for Coastal Property Owners)

Puget Sound and its associated coastal waters have created a dramatic system of coastal landforms along which have developed the population centers of Western Washington. It is the natural beauty of this coastal system that continues to place residential pressures on coastlines. Construction practices on and around coastal slopes, in combination with the increasing stormwater runoff from developing properties around Puget Sound, contribute to the acceleration of slope erosion and landslide activity along coastal waterways.

Too often, well intended erosion control and slope stabilization programs do not recognize and incorporate vegetation as a legitimate design tool to address these slope processes. Primarily, these oversights are because the use of vegetation alone (soil bioengineering) or together with other slope stability structures (biotechnical engineering) for slope protection is poorly understood. Therefore, the value of vegetation along a slope is either underestimated or ignored during the important project planning, design, and agency permitting periods.

When properly installed and maintained, vegetation can protect slopes by reducing erosion, strengthening soil, and inhibiting landslides which increase general slope stability. The use of vegetation to manage erosion and protect slopes is relatively inexpensive, does not require heavy machinery on the slope, establishes wildlife habitat, and can improve the aesthetic quality of the property. This website - an online version of our popular booklet - introduces general soil bioengineering practices to coastal property owners so that they may realize the practical and financial benefits of using vegetation to control erosion and help stabilize slopes.

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