Erosion Control Forum

Erosion & sediment control solutions for wetlands - Soil and Groundwater

The largest threat to wetlands is the risk of being flooded with sediment as a result of a poorly managed construction site. Most construction projects require erosion control to prevent damage to the wetlands.

  • Not necessarily 'wet' nor 'land'
  • Two forms: freshwater and coastal (or“brackish”)
  • Coastal marshes– Mainly defined by soil and vegetation type
  • Regulate storm surge
  • Provide habitat for a high percentage of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.
  • Serve as a purification system. Water moves slowly through the wetland and the soil and the plants pick up the nutrients and contaminants and clean the water.
  • Serve as a large filter, dirty water passes into the wetland and clean water is the final result.
  • Function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters.
  • Constructed wetlands, environmental mitigation or mitigation banking
  • Ecotourism : nature–based tourism focusing on wildlife and the landscape, such as bird–watching and photography.

Any time work which involves disturbance of the ground is proposed within a wetland, or within 100 feet of a wetland, a permit must be granted by the local conservation commission prior to the work being done. Obtaining a permit requires that the wetland be delineated, located by survey, and shown on a plan. The plan must also show the location of the proposed work, the nature of the proposed work, and the methods which will be used to protect the wetlands from erosion or disturbance during construction. In some instances the work will require disturbance or alteration of the wetlands themselves.

There are several types of wetlands, depending on where they are located and the chemical makeup of the water in them. In most cases, wetlands form an intermediate area between a large body of water such as an ocean or lake and dry land, although some inland wetlands form in areas isolated from bodies of water. Wetlands tend to form in areas of low ground, which accumulates water readily, and if allowed to thrive without disruption, they have numerous positive affects on the natural environment.

Riparian buffer strips are areas of trees or shrubs located adjacent to streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. They intercept pollutants before they reach surface and ground water, stop shoreline erosion and provide havens for a number of wildlife and aquatic organisms. Shelterbelts, also called windbreaks, are usually single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs planted perpendicular to prevailing winds that provide protection from wind and snow. These buffers can protect wildlife, farmsteads, cropland, and livestock. They can also dampen noise and beautify the landscape.