Too Much Plastic Required for Erosion Control

July 2014 Special Report

Diamond A Desert, Nevada

Sometimes, I see things in my travels that really bugs me, so I decided to do special reports to cover such topics, as I consider these types of things too important to get lost in a daily post.

Recently while traveling around the Diamond A Desert in Nevada, I took a walk down this drainage area on the north side of Bearpaw Mountain. It was dry now, but it likely had a bit of water in it when the snow melted off the mountains in the spring.

This is the drainage area I walked down for a couple miles or so, looking back up it.meadow


While walking, I came across this man made stuff laying in the drainage area.dam


Used to be a dam

It appeared to be a dam someone had constructed a number of years ago, across the drainage area. The only someone out here would have been a government employee.dam1


Plastic and wood poles and rocks

Looking a bit closer at the stuff, it’s plastic sheeting and wooden poles and rocks that used to form a dam across the drainage, but now was only a pile of eyesore and pollution.plastic


Erosion control?

Some  good hearted government guy was trying to stop the erosion in the drainage ditch. The idea is to put coffer dams across the drainage below the eroded parts to slow down the water and back up the soil to stop the erosion.

This shows some of the natural erosion in the drainage ditch, which the person was likely trying to control. Personally, I see no problem with this considering where it is located and looks to be a natural thing.errosion


All the dams failed

I ran into quite a few of these failed dams while hiking down the drainage ditch, all of them did not do their job and had failed and were nothing but garbage out in the desert now. Not one of them backed up any soil.

Here is another one of them. The animals likely knocked over the poles using them to rub on. And of course the weather likely works on them too, year after year. It snows and freezes out here and the wind blows hard too.dam2


Time and money wasted

A total waste of money, all of them failed and are now a big mess.dam3


All things slowly work their way down waterways

Unfortunately, now, the plastic is slowly going to work it’s way down the drainage ditch towards the creeks and river’s. It may take a thousand years to get there, but all things work their way down waterways towards the ocean, some faster than others.dam4


Rocks are a better resource to use

A better way to have done this would have been to use the type of rocks they used to hold down the first dam’s plastic. See the big rocks in this photo? Dam nice dam material, rocks.dam1


If they’d built the dam out of the big rocks, it would likely still be some kind of dam and it would have done it’s job and lasted much longer and not added man made stuff to the environment.

And even more importantly, it would not have left the man made materials being an eyesore, out in the middle of the desert. Now, the mess is just pollution.

Even better, no erosion control should have been done out in the middle of nowhere anyway. Erosion is part of nature and not all of it is caused by man and not all of it is bad.

Government required

Our government is requiring lots of plastic materials to be used to control erosion, at least all over the western states. It’s put out there and most of it is purposely left there and not picked back up, slowly adding more plastic to our water ways. I say slowly, but the pace has picked up in the last few years and it’s more likely they are adding thousands of pieces of plastic to our waterways a year now.

No Plastics policy

I think we need a no plastics policy out there. Only natural products should be used for these types of things. Rocks of different sizes should be used instead of plastic in most places, if this type of work needs to be done. Rocks are natural and work better than plastic and don’t pollute the environment like plastic does. Rocks are what shape our water ways naturally.

Right now, our government requires the heavy use of plastic materials in any project that requires dirt moving or water control. Even though, they may stop dirt from entering our waterways, eventually, the plastic is going to enter them and it already is.

It’s going to be hard to remove all the plastics once they realize their error.

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