Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Shoreline erosion is a major problem along more than 500 miles of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes and reservoirs. In addition to causing damage to property and siltation of waterways, eroding shorelines offer little habitat for fish and wildlife. Field and greenhouse experiments were conducted in an effort to develop low cost methods of shoreline erosion control. The field experiments were conducted at Walter F. George Reservoi located on the Chattahoochee River between Alabama and Georgia. We evaluated a number of low cost breakwater materials, in order to control wave action until vegetation could become established. The results showed that the most effective breakwater materials were coconut fiber logs, straw bales wrapped in poultry netting, and pine logs. In another experiment, wetland and terrestrial plant species, which have potential use in shorelin erosion control, were evaluate in the greenhouse at different fertility levels. The greenhouse results showed that the fertility level of the sand soil common on shoreline areas is very low. Hence, a good plant growth on these areas where vegetation can be established will require significant inputs of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers.
Technical Abstract: Many factors contribute to shoreline erosion including a lack of vegetation that can survive under periods of flooding, drying, and wave action. Biotechnical methods of shoreline erosion control seem to be a low cost alternative to conventional methods. This study was an attempt, first, to evaluate the feasibility of several breakwater materials for controlling wave action. The site for the field experiment was Walter F. George Reservoir located on the Chattahoochee River between Alabama and Georgia; and secondly, to study the growth response of seven wetland and terrestrial plant species for potential use in biotechnical methods of shoreline erosion control. Plants were evaluated at different fertility levels in a greenhouse experiment. Results of the field experiments indicated that wire-wrapped square straw bales, coconut fiber logs were effective in controlling wave action and trapping sand. Round hay bales were less effective breakwater materials. Greenhouse data indicated that cattail, soft rush, soft stem bulrush, and maidencane responded significantly to nitrogen fertilizer up to 50 kg/ha. This rate was also optimum for bahiagrass, switchgrass, and marsh hay cordgrass. Most of these plant species did not significantly respond to the addition of micronutrients.