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NYSDOT soil bioengineering and biotechnical engineering design guidance and specifications


The Problem Statement Highway construction activities often entail stripping of the topsoil, removal of existing vegetation, slope modification and other disturbances of the natural landscape that increase erosion of highway embankments and streambanks. In addition, suburban development is increasing the amount of impermeable surfaces throughout the natural landscape and a lack of adequate stormwater management has lead to higher amounts of water draining into streams, speeding up erosion to a point of destruction to the stream environment. Engineers have typically addressed these problems with hard structural solutions, such as rip-rap and concrete, which often lead to negative impacts to the environment and stream instability. There is, however, increasing pressure from regulatory agencies and citizen environmental groups to address the above issues with other more environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing methods. The Project Objective On July 15, 2002, NYSDOT issued Soil Bioengineering and Biotechnical Engineering Design Guidance and Specifications in order to provide designers with alternative techniques for erosion control and stabilization of disturbed sites, including cut/fill slope stabilization, small gully repair, earth embankment protection and streambank stabilization. Benefits of bioengineering/biotechnical engineering systems are their natural appearance, habitat development and potentially lower cost. In areas that have aesthetic and environmental concerns, soil bioengineering/biotechnical methods offer designers tools to address these concerns. Additional benefits associated with streams include more natural, productive riparian habitats, shade, addition of organic mater, cover for aquatic species and improved water quality.

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