Submitted to: International Conference on Aeolian Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2006
Publication Date: 7/28/2006
Citation: Copeland, N., Sharratt, B.S., Wu, J., Foltz, R., Dooley, J. 2006. Evaluating the efficacy of a wood-strand material for wind erosion mitigation and air quality protection. International Conference on Aeolian Research.
Technical Abstract: Arid conditions and persistent winds are characteristic of much of the western United States and provide a climate conducive to wind erosion. Airborne dust generated from exposed soil at construction sites, post–wildfire events, and farm fields is a widespread problem with both human health and environmental impacts. Small particulates (specifically PM10) have been listed as one of the six criteria pollutants as stated in the Clean Air Act. Agricultural straw has been widely used for water erosion control; however, it has proven to be less effective in controlling wind erosion. Forest Concepts, LLC, a Washington-based company, has developed a new material made from by-products of forest thinning and plywood manufacturing. The wood-strand materials are heavier, and thus less likely to be blown away. They also have more favorable mulching characteristics for decomposing into environment-friendly biomass, offer significantly longer resistance to erosion, and do not introduce noxious weeds, pesticides, or non-native materials to wild lands. The goals of this study were to (1) evaluate the performance of wood strands in reducing PM10 emissions and maintaining air quality and (2) produce data that will aid in the design of wood strands for wind erosion mitigation. Through a series of wind tunnel tests, the impacts of selected material properties and application strategies were evaluated. The study was designed to allow for comparison between effects of the wood strands and agricultural straw and identify significant factors impacting the erosion reduction efficacy of the wood strands. During testing, PM10 concentrations were monitored at various heights above the soil surface. Wind speeds were also measured at corresponding heights, allowing for analysis of the efficacy of erosion control materials in terms of soil flux. Preliminary results indicate that wood strands can remain intact on the soil surface at wind speeds of up to 40 mph while significantly reducing PM10 emissions. Further testing at lower wind speeds is expected to generate more information in regards to the effects of specific material properties on PM10 emissions.