Compost Blankets for Erosion Control and Vegetation Establishment

Soil erosion affects un-paved roadside areas. Soils that are de-stabilized from construction activities are especially subject to erosion. To prevent damage from erosion and to address environmental concerns such as soil and water quality, exposed soil needs to be stabilized until a permanent vegetative cover has time to establish. Over the past few years, MassDOT has been experimenting with “compost blankets” to provide short-term erosion control and to improve establishment of desired vegetation. A compost blanket is made by broadcasting compost in a thin layer across an exposed subsoil embankment. As a natural material, compost has been used to keep soil and seed in place to protect slopes from rainfall, and to retain moisture to allow vegetation growth. Given the potential benefits, it would be useful to evaluate how well compost blankets have been working in the field to prevent soil erosion, to aid in the establishment of roadside native grasses and wildflowers, and to ensure that MassDOT specifications are consistent with current practices. The objectives of this research are identify the parameters for the most effective use of compost blankets to prevent soil erosion and to control and encourage the long-term establishment of roadside native grasses and wildflowers.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    Massachusetts Division
    55 Broadway, 10th Floor
    Cambridge, Massachusetts  United States  02142
  • Managing Organizations:

    Massachusetts Department of Transportation

    10 Park Plaza
    Boston, MA  United States  02116
  • Project Managers:

    Zavolas, Nicholas

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Massachusetts, Amherst

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    130 Natural Resources Road
    Amherst, MA  United States  01003
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ahern, Jack

  • Start Date: 20190303
  • Expected Completion Date: 20191130
  • Actual Completion Date: 20200201
  • USDOT Program: Research and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01698957
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Massachusetts Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 106907
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 18 2019 2:04PM