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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Erosion control reduces fine particles in runoff to Lake Tahoe


Sediment in hillslope runoff from disturbed soils in the Lake Tahoe Basin is the source of many fine suspended particles that transport nutrients and contribute to a loss in lake clarity. In previous studies, we used rainfall simulation to assess and quantify infiltration, runoff and erosion rates from hillslope soils. Building on this research, our current study evaluates the relationship between particle sizes in runoff sediments and slope, and compares the relationships between restored soil treatments and bare and undisturbed (native) forest soils. Soil restoration combined with pine needle mulch treatments substantially reduced sediment yields in runoff water, and increased the size of runoff particles when compared to that from bare soils. Very little, if any, runoff and erosion occurred from relatively undisturbed “native” soil plots at similar slopes.

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