Many erosion and sediment control practices, like silt fence, require trenching, which is harder and more expensive to do in the winter. But some practices, like rock or mulch berms don’t require trenching. Follow the link to learn more…
Erosion and sediment control is required in the winter for active construction sites. Unpredictable thaws and spring snowmelt mean that measures have to be in place to reduce pollution to local waterbodies. Here are some options for the winter:
- Sediment Control Berms: Sediment control berms can be made of wood mulch, soil, or clean rock/gravel and do not require trenching. Often these materials can already be found on site. Soil berms should be covered or otherwise stabilizes to prevent erosion. Gravel/rock needs to be clean and free of fines.
- Sediment Control Logs: Rock logs or compost logs can be installed without trenching. They can also be used as an alternative to trenching on silt fence (place over a 6” flap of silt fence that runs along the ground.) Please note, straw wattles do need to be keyed in and may not work for winter installation.
- Snow Seeding: Even in winter, seeding can be done and is recommended for some native plants. Broadcast seed over the affected area just prior to or during a major snow event where the snow will stay on the ground (not melt immediately); or, broadcast seed on top of snow during an active freeze thaw period. The snow will keep the seed in place. The freeze thaw cycles of winter will eventually work the seeds into the soil.
- Snow Mulching: Hay, straw, and prairie mulch erosion control can be applied directly on top of the snow during or just prior to a snow event. The snow will keep the mulch in place as it thaws and freezes.
- Temporary Ground Covers for Frozen Ground: Hay, straw, and prairie mulches can be installed using a tackifier as long as the temperature is above 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Other mulches, like woodchips and gravel, do not require tacking or discing and can be installed directly on frozen ground regardless of the temperature. Hydromulches can also be installed directly on frozen ground with the exception of special products that require a curing time.
- Tarps: In a pinch, spare tarps can be used to cover small stock piles if they are adequately weighted down.
These helpful tips can be found in the Erosion and Sediment Control Pocket Guide developed by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.