Chicken Wire to Control Erosion
Erosion is caused by water or wind and is characterized by the removal of important topsoil. Areas with few plants are exposed to soil runoff and slides which can be detrimental to soil health, topography and specific land uses. It is important to establish a barrier on exposed sites to prevent erosion or even physically hold soils down. Chicken wire is useful as a fence barrier to minimize wind erosion. It's also used in steel gabions, which are barriers of chicken wire wrapped around rock.
Soil disturbances that typically occur in logging or commercial agricultural practices leave soils loose and unstable. The erosion that follows can leave an area without a nutrient-rich layer of soil and barren. It can also cause the land to collapse, slide or otherwise degrade. Soil barriers and erosion fabrics are excellent temporary controls. Chicken wire has long been used to help shore up unstable areas because of its availability on the farm or ranch. Urban construction also uses chicken wire in several erosion control practices where its versatility makes it an ideal material.
Chicken wire is an easy to construct wave barrier that helps protect sensitive coastal zones. It is installed with fence posts sunk deep into the silt several feet off the shoreline but still in shallow water. A silt mat or barrier is often used along the chicken wire fence to help catch and prevent sand and shoreline soil from eroding further into the waterway. Chicken wire barriers are useful when riparian plants are becoming established as natural barriers to waves. Once the plants are growing well the chicken wire is removed.
Plants are a crucial part of restoring and preserving an erosion-prone area. Their roots help hold the soil down and their foliage makes a wind barrier to prevent the loss of topsoil. Chicken wire is used on sloped areas where new plants might have a hard time getting a purchase while establishing. A mesh of chicken wire secured to the slope will provide some stability for small plantings and increase their chance of rooting and establishing before runoff or wind can disturb them.
Chicken wire is used to form rock barriers and walls to shore up erosion prone hillsides. The wire is either wrapped around rocks or placed horizontally on hills with a layer of rocks and another layer of chicken wire. The boulders are called gabions and are stacked to form a wall or break against slope erosion. The layered chicken wire and rock construction sometimes also includes layers of coir or barrier fabric to help capture the smallest pieces of soil.
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