Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Development Services

From Concept to Construction

Phone: 503-823-7300


1900 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Soil Bioengineering Erosion Control Best Management Practice

Erosion control best management practices are required during all ground disturbing activity until permanent site ground covers are in place. A best management practice (BMP) is a physical, chemical, structural or managerial practice that prevents, reduces or treats contamination of water or which prevents or reduces soil erosion.

Soil Bioengineering BMPs are the ideal measures for use in streambanks and on other upland slopes. Bioengineering uses vegetative materials to provide structural support to banks and flow reduction across banks. Soil bioengineering BMPs are usually permanent measures.

Soil Bioengineering BMPs are:

  • Live Stakes
    Live stakes are stakes of woody plant materials that are capable of rooting with relative ease. These cuttings are cut to length, tamped into the ground, and then grow into mature shrubs that over time will hold and provide a protective cover for the soil surface.
    • Secure streambanks or slope erosion prevention materials
    • Provide long term permanent streambank or slope cover
    • Provide quick, inexpensive and easily installed permanent vegetative cover on simple areas
  • Live Fascines
    Live fascine structures are sausage-like bundles of live cut branches of wetland/streamside materials, usually willow or dogwood species. These bundles are placed into trenches along the streambannk and grow out perpendicular to the bank providing protective vegetative cover and a root structure to stabilize banks.
    • Provide surface stability to streambanks
    • Support the establishment of permanent streambank cover
    • Slow the surface flows by breaking up slopes and allowing vegetation to establish, which allows enhanced filtration
  • Brush Layers and Brush Packing
    A brush layer is a layer of plant material that is laid between successive lifts of a fill slope and brush packing, staking down layers of material join in the rills or gullies to repair a fill slope. They are most commonly used for upland slope conditions. Both systems require live branches laid horizontally within the slope and provide quick wildlife habitat.
    • Provide stability for constructed fill slopes and embankments
    • Support the establishment of permanent vegetative cover
  • Brush Mattress
    A brush mattress is a combination of vegetated structures that are used to form a protective vegetated mattress over a streambank or other slope.
    • Provide stability of streambanks
    • Support the establishment of permanent vegetative cover
    • Provide immediate flood protection
  • Live Cribwall
    A live cribwall is a rectangular framework of logs or timbers, rock and woody cuttings that protect eroding streambanks and provide overhead cover for the fish. Design of these systems requires an in-depth assessment and understanding of stream flows and stream behavior.
    • Provide and protect stability of streambanks
    • Support the establishment of permanent streambank cover
    • Provide overhead cover for fish