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Using Reinforced Native Grass Sod for Biostrips, Bioswales, and Sediment Control

Project #: 4W0256
Start Date: 12/01/2004
End Date: 12/31/2008
Status: Completed

There is an urgent need for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to enhance current techniques to treat stormwater runoff from highway surfaces for erosion control and for compliance with the Clean Water Act. Disturbed lands associated with highway construction and established water conveyance features can be extremely erosive sources of sediment in water resources. Surface stabilization is essential on land adjacent to highways, particularly areas with steep slopes and water conveyance features, to prevent sediment displacement during runoff events. Using protective vegetation groundcover on these areas can reduce sediment yield and runoff while also enhancing the aesthetic value. Several different methods have been tried to establish native grass on highway project sites but none of these methods result in adequate root development, which is essential to holding the soil together. Research has shown that sod used for erosion control applications is 99% effective in removing sediment in runoff. The use of reinforced native grass sod will provide quick establishment and soil reinforcing, reduce the risk of non-native weeds and fire hazards, and thus reduce the use of herbicides. In addition, it will minimize the amount of maintenance and water treatment needed for the vegetation management. This project will evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency and cost of using reinforced native grass sod for erosion and sediment control on land near the California highway system.


Develop and demonstrate reinforced native grass sod for control of stormwater runoff and sediment loss from land disturbances associated with the California highway system.


  • Xianming Shi
    Xianming Shi