When evaluating methods of pipeline erosion control, one technique is the use of gabion baskets. Gabion baskets are incredibly useful when it comes to solving streambank stabilization problems.
Gabion baskets are rectangular baskets made with galvanized wire. When using gabions as an erosion tool, the baskets are filled with stones. They are then placed on slopes, acting as semi-flexible building blocks. Erosion control experts may also recommend building trees and other vegetation into the baskets to stabilize them. Installing plants and trees into a gabion basket will also reduce runoff.
Gabion baskets are a useful tool to help fight erosion because they minimize the impact of moving water. Because their design is simple, there are many ways erosion control experts utilize them. Gabion baskets are used:
• As a retaining wall on steep slopes
• To fortify the banks of narrow channels
• To change water flows to better-protect channel sections that are eroding
These baskets are also a practical choice during construction. Because the baskets are filled with stone, it is relatively easy to transport them from job site to job site. Those worried about erosion during a construction project would be wise to consider this low-cost investment that they can use on multiple projects.
Typically, erosion control experts prefer to use gabion baskets in areas where water flow velocities are higher than six feet per second. They are also useful in areas where vegetative protection methods alone are inadequate but are helpful in allowing vegetation to take hold.
In areas where the water flow is strong, it is practically impossible to install vegetation because it is easily washed away. This is particularly true if there are excessive sub-surface water movements. However, planting the vegetation inside of a sturdy structure such as a gabion basket promotes growth.
Additionally, erosion control experts use gabion baskets in areas susceptible to sloughing of the streambank and where the soil bank’s vertical integrity needs a higher tensile strength. The baskets are also useful in areas where rock or riprap would be a sufficient technique, but the desired rock size would not be capable of holding the expected shear stress that is exerted on the revetment. Gabion baskets create a structure that is more cohesive because wire mesh binds them.
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