Vegetation Establishment
Ontario County, NY

Grantee: Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District
Basin Program Funds: $11,458
Non-federal Funds: $7,960
Project Duration: 04/1995 - 03/1996
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Logging roads and skid trails are the prime sources of sediment in a logging area. As much as 800 tons of soil can be lost per acre of skid road from erosion. The potential for erosion from timber harvesting operations in Ontario County is particularly high due to steep hill sides and erodible soils present.

Seeding and power mulching brochure

The goal of the Vegetative Establishment project is to develop a self-supporting program for seeding grasses and legumes on exposed forest soils following timber harvesting operations. Establishing vegetation on exposed soils stabilizes erodible areas and prevents sediment and nutrients from entering waterbodies. It is estimated that established seedings can reduce soil loss by up to 95%, and nitrogen loss in surface runoff by up to 90%. This concept offers an opportunity to landowners and all those engaged in timber harvesting activities to exert their individual stewardship responsibilities in the forest to minimize soil erosion and maintain stream and waterbodies in their natural and free flowing condition.

Erosion problems usually occur on logging roads and skid trails. In the county's eastern woodlands, 99% of sediment originates on logging roads. Road surface constitutes about 10-16% of the wooded area that is logged.

A self-supporting program for seeding grasses and legumes on exposed forest soil has been established. Approximately twelve acres, including ten miles of access roads, skid trails and landing areas, were properly seeded saving approximately 165 tons of soil. Treatment areas were periodically inspected and documented to include photos, soil loss calculations, statistics, and visual inspections of turbidity in adjoining tributaries. The established seedlings reduced soil loss by up to 95% decreasing the amount of silt and sediment entering steams, lakes and wetlands, thus improving fisheries habitat and increasing fish populations.

A Seeding and Power Mulching program brochure and video were developed. Both are available for landowners, municipalities and contractors to demonstrate the availability and effectiveness of the program.

The program's initial intent was targeted toward timber harvesting activities and has now flourished into a diverse seeding program benefitting a variety of land uses (e.g., streambanks, roadbanks, ditches), all with the common goal of reducing soil loss.

Contact: Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District, (716) 394-1341


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