Erosion in Florida is typically caused by rain, storm, or flood waters passing over land. The result of erosion is often steep banks of scoured soil or other ground material. It’s important to remember that erosion cannot be controlled while it is happening and is often not seen until the flood waters have subsided.
The most costly problems associated with erosion is when the loss of soil or other materials undermines structures, leading to major failures occurring most often when waters flow rapidly over loosely compacted soil or denuded slopes. Other say the environmental impact of erosion is the main long-term problem occurring when contaminants and other human impacted chemicals and fertilizers find their way to our lakes, ponds, rivers or streams. It contributes to the phosphorus load and can result in algae blooms and other concerns. This can be very hazardous to fish and other wildlife.
Soil erosion costs Florida homeowners millions of dollars a year. Soil loss not only causes damage to roads and property but In addition, the soil removal from roadside ditches and storm drains is required, costing taxpayers money. The environmental cleanup can be costly also.
What can we do on a homeowner level? Becoming familiar with the natural drainage patterns of your property and trying to avoid adversely altering them. Proper site design will help you avoid expensive erosion control measures. Plan to preserve existing vegetation as much as possible. Vegetation will naturally curb erosion, improve the appearance and the value of your property, and reduce the cost of landscaping later. Wide buffer strips of undisturbed vegetation are often required along stream and lake shores. You should be cautious when using heavy machinery in these buffer areas.
Discuss clearing limits with your contractor in advance. Field mark these limits with ribbons or flagging. Flag particular trees and shrubs that you want protected. Remember that heavy machinery must be kept well away from trees to avoid compacting their roots; otherwise, they may die a few years later. Trees roots can also smother if excess fill is re-graded around them. When the earth moving is completed, replant any disturbed areas immediately - consider groundcover native to northeast Florida such as perennial peanut or other local native groundcover these are generally better at taking up pollutants and nutrients in storm runoff water. Use your soil test results to determine fertilizer and lime needs. Be extremely careful when using fertilizers near streams, lakes and ponds. Consider using organics and be cautious of applying prior to a storm. You should also use formulations very low in phosphorus in areas with any possibility of runoff into local waterways. Be cautious of diverting water into your neighbors’ property or public lands.