Securing a Sanctuary

Feb. 8, 2011

About the author: Tom Wedegaertner is director of cottonseed research and marketing for Cotton Inc. Wedegaertner can be reached at [email protected] or 919.678.2369.

Iowa city park greens new acreage with hydraulic erosion control solution

Center Point, Iowa’s, Fross Park—a 17-acre recreational centerpiece of the city, just north of Cedar Rapids—had undergone a much-needed expansion to better serve the community. By the spring of 2009, the new-and-improved 44-acre expanse was nearly complete and boasted new amenities, including pavilions, a skate park, playground, nine-hole disc golf course, splash pad and 1.2-mile walking trail.

Construction left much of Fross Park in need of revegetation.

Construction, however, left many areas in need of revegetation and protection from erosion before the park could be reopened for use. With the busy summer months quickly approaching, finding an erosion control solution that would protect the graded soil and help quickly regain a lushly vegetated park became a top priority.

HECP Solution

The distributor for the Fross Park Expansion, the Coleman Moore Co., Des Moines, Iowa, recommended the HydraMatriCx Series—a high-performance hydraulic erosion control product (HECP) from North American Green—for the job. Based on the severity of the park’s various slopes, ranging from 2:1 to 3:1, HydraCX2 Extreme Slope Matrix was applied in early May 2009.

“The contractor was looking for an environmentally friendly product with nontoxic properties,” said Bob Gerding, North American Green’s North Central U.S. regional sales manager. “The company was interested in trying the HydraMatriCx erosion control products, and this project was the perfect fit.”

Developed by Mulch and Seed Innovations LLC, Centre, Ala., along with Cotton Inc., this series of erosion control products is made with mechanically processed straw fibers, reclaimed cotton plant material and proprietary performance-enhancing tackifiers that form a protective layer to hold the soil in place.

The HECP solution withstood the elements and resulted in a lush park.

“The [solution] contains beneficial nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are critical for plant growth,” said Wae Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing for Mulch and Seed Innovations. “[They] also are absorbent and have a beneficial water-holding capacity, which assists with germination and encourages the establishment of vegetation.”

Post-industrial waste from the cotton-ginning process, cotton plant material is a new reclaimed substance that has proven to be an effective and sustainable alternative to virgin wood and recycled paper in erosion control products. The HydraMatriCx Series features a low water-to-mulch ratio, requiring a maximum of 100 gal of water per 50 lb of mulch.

“This ratio is important when considering the cost of water, along with the time, labor and fuel needed to reach the water source,” Ellis added.

Strength & Greenery

It was not long before the HECP was put to the test. Just one week after installation, more than 3 in. of rainfall pounded the site in a 24-hour period, causing alarm that the product would be washed away and that the site would need to be regraded and reseeded. The contractors discovered, however, that the high-strength tackifiers in the HydraCX2 product had performed as promised, bonding the soil and mulch together and helping hold everything in place.

Days after the rain event, strong vegetation was established; within a month, Fross Park was greener than ever and ready for the Center Point community to enjoy, celebrating the start of summer.

About the Author

Tom Wedegaertner