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Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP), Uganda, 2020

Sloping Land Management Project & Sustainable Livelihood Disaster Mitigation Program, 2015-2017

Soil Slump and Slide, Langley, BC, 2020

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Fortlangley Slope before treatmenr Marcc

March 2020 before remediation.

After Seven motnhs of Bioengineering imp

Seven months after remediation.

After One year in March 2021_edited.jpg

And one year after.

In early 2020 we were asked to solve an erosion problem at a steep river bank site in Langley, BC.  The slope had given out due to heavy rains damaging the soil’s integrity and seepage from an old sewer pipe, in addition to water from the nearby river. Blackberry plant ground-cover on the location lacked root strength, and a mudslide had resulted.

Two typical soil bioengineering solutions were recommended and implemented. The first was a “live pole drain” made of living cuttings bound into a 30 cm diameter bundles, and laid like a drainage pipe vertically in the slump, and two, a “wattle fence”, or short retaining wall, created from 1 meter live willow cuttings.

The pole drain was built long enough to reach from the top of the mudslide down the river’s edge. A few feet from the top of the slump it branched into a wide Y shape, designed to collect as much moisture as possible, and direct it into the preferred flow path. It was laid in a shallow trench, and nearly covered with soil, so that the cuttings would send shoots up to the light, and roots out into the soil, becoming the new life and stability on the steep slope.

Live pole drains are excellent solutions for implementation in British Columbia’s rainforest climate, where drainage is vital, plant life is prolific, and drain pipe failure due to root choking and damage is common. A live pole drain will not become root-blocked because the roots of the cuttings sprout and grow outward, away from the water they are already getting.

These natural drainage solutions have been found to operate effectively for many years, and are inexpensive to implement.

Wattle fencing was the second soil stabilization remedy implemented at the site of the slump.  The 1-meter-long live cuttings were placed vertically 80 cm into the earth, and about 50 cm apart, at intervals across the face of the mudslide. Then long, live willow cuttings were stacked against on the top-slope side of the vertical cuttings. Then the natural material retaining walls were back-filled. 

Live staking of red dogwood additionally added to the prevention of regrowth of the blackberry cover which was in the area, but which could not achieve root strength on that steep location.

Within seven months the slope was significantly stabilized, and ground cover had established life.

One year post implementation the steep slope was rehabilitated, and completely stable, and blackberry vines had not returned.

Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP), Uganda, 2020

In early 2020 Mr. Thapa was asked to identify a strategy for bio-engineering approaches to improve the resilience and quality of rural road infrastructures through landslide management and optimization of road reserve use and to prepare a guideline incorporating site assessments, specifications, typical designs, and drawings for the bio-engineering techniques, and to offer full training to the counterpart staff in accordance with approved training plans and transfer of knowledge.

He recommended clearing of debris, building gabion walls, planting grasses, trees and brush, improving drainage, and trimming of the slope edge and co-authored this 137 page guide to landslide management in Uganda:  

Landslide Management Guide, Uganda

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Illustrations of potential use of bio-engineering techniques for slope stabilisation and improvement in Uganda.
Credit for some photos from this project to co-authors: Gareth Hearn, Timothy Hunt, John Howell

Sloping Land Management Project (SLMP) & Sustainable Livelihood Disaster Mitigation Program (SLDMP)

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Swiss Development and Cooperation (SDC) has worked with the Ministry of Land Environmental Protection (MoLEP) of the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK) to empower Sloping Land User Groups (SLUGs) to apply new agroforestry practices such as Bio-engineering for land erosion control, land use planning, reforestation and conservation farming to address humanitarian needs of rural populations concerning food security. 

Disaster risk was strengthened through wider application of Soil Bio-engineering and low-cost engineering techniques through Sloping Land Users Group.

Water management was implemented in eroded gully, and in other slope erosion, where terraced walls and a conservation pond was used to retain water. Training was provided on the techniques used, and Mr. Thapa prepared work guidelines, site handbooks, and progress reports.

Fog and Nature
The environment is in us, not outside of us. The trees are our lungs, the rivers our bloodstream. We are all interconnected, and what you do to the environment, ultimately you do to yourself.

- Ian Somerhalder

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