Sand Dune Stabilization

U.S. Geological Survey staff scientists have partnered with EEOP to apply dune stabilization treatments in the Teesto, Arizona area. The two main treatments that are currently being employed are native seed broadcasting and wind erosion buffering. Importantly, these techniques are currently in the experimental phase. The group is constantly monitoring and assessing the site to modify the stabilization design.

Treatment 1:
Native seed broadcasting is conducted using "seed cakes". Seed cakes are made using a combination of compost, terra cotta clay, and native seed species including sporobolus cryptandrus (sand dropseed), oryzopsis hymenoides (Indian ricegrass), and hilaria jamesii (galleta viva). Encasing the seeds in heavier material (compost/clay blend).

Seed Cakes     Seed Cake broadcasting

Treatment 2:
The wind erosion buffers, referred to as "sand sausages", are constructed using only degradable biosilk and sand acquired on site. The sand sausages are arranged in a cross-hatched design over the dune to minimize wind erosion. After several years the biosilk degrades leaving behind only sand. The expectation is that by the time that the biosilk has degraded, the native plants will have established and can serve as the permanent erosion buffers.

Sand sausage construction

For more information please contact:
Mansel Nelson, Program Coordinator, Sr.
Tel: 928/523-1275

Last updated: May 14, 2012


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