Center for Environmental Excellence by AASHTO CENTER HOME  
skip navigation
CEE by AASHTO Home | Compendium Home | Online Compendium Help | Recent Updates | Inquiries | FAQs | State DOT Links
About Best Practices | Comment on Best Practices | Suggest A Best Practice | Volunteer to Vet Best Practices
Printer Friendly Version Print This Page    
« Back to Chapter 9 | Go to Chapter 11 »
Chapter 10
Roadside Management and Maintenance: Beyond Vegetation
10.12. Erosion and Sediment Control in Maintenance

Erosion and sediment control is a critical maintenance activity and should not only be considered on previous land-disturbing activities such as road construction, but also on any roadside land-disturbing activity, including slide or flood emergencies. Best management practices are available to effectively treat most yards, facilities, and roadside erosion and sediment problems. Consequently, maintenance staff should become familiar with their DOT's Erosion and Sediment Control Manual. BMPs are available for perimeter, surface, slope, ditch, channel, and inlet and outlet protection, among others. Revegetation of disturbed or bare areas is the key component to long-term erosion and sediment control and should be used in most instances. Erosion and sediment control measures are used for all areas where maintenance activities involve clearing, grubbing, grading or excavating.

Information on environmental stewardship practice in erosion and sedimentation control and links to selection guidance, drawings, and implementation are included in the Design and Construction chapters; however, some basic environmental stewardship practices for erosion control in maintenance include the following:

  • Use temporary vegetation to provide immediate ground cover until permanent landscaping is in place. It is desirable to re-seed and mulch any disturbed areas at the end of the day.
  • Other "positive" erosion control measures (such as silt fence , check dam, etc.) should be installed prior to commencing work and left in place and maintained until the site is stabilized
  • Areas should be re-vegetated with native seed mixes that require minimal care
  • Temporary structural erosion control measures should be installed when cleaning culverts or cleaning ditches that discharge into streams, wetlands, lakes or ponds
  • When cleaning ditches, temporary check dams should be used wherever they are necessary and placed so that the crest of the downhill dam is at the same elevation of the toe of the uphill dam.
  • Check dams should be left in place until the ditch is re-vegetated.
  • Temporary sediment traps should be placed at the inlet of a culvert that drains into a stream, wetland or other water body. Sediment traps should be constructed by excavating an additional 1/3 meter (one foot) below the ditch invert for a distance of six meters (20 feet).
  • Temporary turbidity curtains should be placed around culvert outlets in low water velocity situations for additional protection at, or close to, very sensitive sites, such as drinking water supplies, angler parking areas, or swimming facilities. Turbidity curtains should only be installed parallel to the shoreline and should never be placed across streams.
  • After the project site is stabilized, any accumulated sediment should be removed before removing check dams or turbidity curtains.
  • To improve habitat and reduce erosion, consult with the environmental staff regarding incorporation of appropriate soil bioengineering practices, such as live willow cuttings/ stakes/posts and live willow wattles to stabilize disturbed and/or eroding stream banks.
  • Sediment control structures should not be placed in streams
  • The smallest practicable work zone is cleared to minimize erosion
  • Length and steepness of slopes should be minimized. Place terraces, benches, or ditches at regular intervals on longer slopes.
  • Maintain low runoff velocities in channels by lining with vegetation riprap, or using check dams at regular intervals, in addition to minimizing steepness and slow length.
  • Trap sediment on-site. Many conventional BMPs are available, in addition to always evolving new ones.

DOT environmental staff, Roadside Managers, or Landscape Architects should be consulted for more detail or if problems arise. Links to existing erosion and sediment control resources and a brief overview of environmental stewardship practice related to erosion and sediment control is included under section 4.6, Erosion and Sedimentation Control.


10.12.1 Evaluating and Ranking Roadside Erosion Control Problem Areas
< back to top >
PennState's Dirt & Gravel Roads Center System for Identifying and Ranking Erosion Control Problem Areas

Penn State University operates a Dirt & Gravel Roads Center with DOT support. The center has developed a system to identify and rank erosion control problem areas, based on the following criteria:

  1. Ranking of road sediment in stream: None, Slight, Moderate, or Severe/Stream Encroachment.
  2. Wet site conditions: Dry, Saturated Ditches, Roadside Springs, Flow in Ditches, Saturated Base.
  3. Road surface material: Hard Gravel, Mixed Stone, Soft Stone/Dust, Stone/Dirt/Dust, and Severe Dust.
  4. Road slope/grade: <10 percent, 10-30 percent, or >30 percent.
  5. Road shape: Good, Fair, or Poor.
  6. Distance to stream: >100 ft., 50-100 ft., <50 ft. crossing.
  7. Slope to stream: <30 percent, 30-60 percent, >60 percent.
  8. Outlet to stream: None, Near Stream, Directly into Stream.
  9. Outlet bleeder stability: Stable, Moderate, Unstable.
  10. Road ditch stability: Stable, Fair, Poor, Unstable.
  11. Road bank stability: Stable, Fair, Poor, Unstable.
  12. Average canopy cover: Moderate, Minimal, Heavy.


< back to top >
Continue to Section 10.13 »
Table of Contents
Chapter 10
Roadside Management and Maintenance: Beyond Vegetation
10.1 Environmental Enhancement Practices and Partnership Efforts
10.2 Protection of Historic and Other Cultural Resources
10.3 Maintenance in Wetlands
10.4 Maintenance Near Waterbodies
10.5 Maintenance of Structures for Wildlife
10.6 Maintenance of Stormwater Facilities
10.7 Maintenance of Roadside Public Facilities
10.8 Management of Portable Sanitary/Septic Waste Systems
10.9 Maintenance of Shoulders and Roadway Appurtenances
10.10 Sweeping and Vacuuming of Roads, Decks, Water Quality Facilities, and Bridge Scuppers
10.11 Maintenance Stewardship Practices for Slopes, Drainage Ditches, Swales, and Diversions
10.12 Erosion and Sediment Control in Maintenance
10.13 Recycling in Roadside Maintenance Operations
10.14 Preserving Air Quality in Maintenance and Operations
10.15 Painting Operation Stormwater BMPs
10.16 Road Waste Management
10.17 Stockpiling, Spoil Disposal or Placement of Inert Fill
10.18 Maintenance of Soils
10.19 Emergency Actions
10.20 Field Review of Roadside Maintenance Operations
Lists: Examples | Tables | Figures
Website Problems Report content errors and/or website problems
PDF Document Download Adobe Acrobat Reader