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Literature Search on Effectiveness of Best Management Practices on Waterways

Conservation Resource Alliance Project 11-04-07
Evaluation of Erosion Control Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Streams
Information Research/Literature Search Summary

M. Megan Woller

To determine literature relative to erosion control best management practices and their efficacy, an in depth search of peer reviewed and government literature was conducted. Initial searches were done using the research databases Biological Abstracts and Biological and Agricultural Index, accessible through Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant, MI) and Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH). In addition, searches of government papers and reports were conducted via the internet and through representatives from state agencies. Mr. Joe Rathbun supplied literature from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (Lansing, MI). As literature was compiled, sources and literature cited sections were examined in great detail, and relevant papers highlighted. These sources and authors were subsequently investigated for pertinent literature.

Basic Findings
Generally speaking, quantitative studies evaluating erosion control best management practices are few. In fact, many of the more applicable papers address the issue of limited evaluation data. In the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, Determining Urban Stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) Removal Efficiencies, authors Eric Strecker and Marcus Quigley (URS Greiner Woodward Clyde) state that, “almost all past BMP monitoring studies have provided very limited data”. It appears that BMPs are based mainly on ecological principles with little emphasis is placed on quantitative measures or assessment. Perhaps as a result, many of the papers and reports were not peer reviewed, published in somewhat obscure journals. This made getting full-text copies of some literature very difficult if not impossible. An inordinate amount of time was spent trying to track down potentially significant sources.

Ultimately 130 separate items related to soil erosion best management practices were identified and cataloged into a database using Microsoft Access. Of these, the majority were government documents, with peer reviewed and “grey” literature (in this case non-government, non-peer reviewed) making up the other 57% (see table below). For reasons mentioned previously, the versions available through this search were split approximately into thirds (abstracts or summaries, citations and full-text articles). Although much of the earlier discussion related to soil erosion and control does not contain the term “BMP”, almost 60% of reports were published prior to 2000.

All full-text articles and abstract/summaries were critically reviewed to determine relevance. This included study location, whether the data were qualitative or quantitative and a nominal relevance variable (1-10). The table below summarizes these findings as well which are listed in the results database. Note* that percent totals are based on the number of full-text and abstract/summaries evaluated and not the total 130. When defined, projects were scattered throughout the continental U.S., as well as the United Kingdom, the Far East and New Zealand. This included a small number of studies in the state of Michigan. Although much of the data was general, or not tied to a specific geographic location (i.e. manipulated in a laboratory), the majority were quantitative (70%). Finally, the relevance variable was determined based on the type of information presented, papers presenting general knowledge were scored quite low whereas studies involving BMP evaluation were scored higher. Ultimately, sources scored highest if they addressed efficacy of different types of soil erosion BMPs.

Recommended Sources (full-text available with this literature search)
1. Hansen, E.A., G.R. Alexander and W.H. Dunn. 1983. Sand Sediment in a Michigan Trout Stream Part I. A Technique for Removing Sand Bedload From Streams. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 3: 355-364.

2. Alexander, G.R. and E.A. Hansen. 1983. Sand Sediment in a Michigan Trout Stream Part II. Effects of Reducing Sand Bedload on a Trout Population. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 3: 365-372.

3. Vennix, S. and W. Northcott. Prioritizing Vegetative Buffer Strip Placement in an Agricultural Watershed. Journal of Spatial Hydrology. 4(1): 1-19.

4. Strecker E. and M. Quigley (URS Greiner Woodward Clyde). 1999. Development of Performance Meausres, Task 3.1 - Technical Memorandum, Determining Urban Stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) Removal Efficiencies. In cooperation with ASCE and US Environmental Protection Agency. 1-32.

5. Singh, U., A. Thompson, B. Wilson, H. Nguyen and B. Hansen. 2002. Characteristics of Erosion Control Measures and Their Impact on Erosion. Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Minnesota. Provided for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 1-72.

6. Christopher Jr., E.A. Post Harvest Evaluation of Best Management Practices for the Prevention of Soil Erosion in Virginia. Thesis as part of a Master’s of Science. University of Virginia.

7. Clopper, P., M. Vielleux and A. Johnson. Quantifying the Performance of Hillslope Erosion Control Best Management Practices. Ayres Associates, Fort Collins, CO. 1-10.

8. Vowell, J.L. and R.B. Frydenborg. 2004. A Biological Assessment of Best Management Practice Effectiveness During Intensive Silviculture and Forest Chemical Application. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus. 4: 297-307.

Literature Gaps
The majority of projects focused on BMPs are specific to agriculture or silviculture. Although some information is applicable to this project, data that describe the evaluation of erosion control (BMPs) in streams are either very difficult to locate or does not exist beyond what is included in this literature search. As a result, it is recommended that when possible, baseline data are collected and BMP efficacy monitored over time. In addition, full-text versions of the following citations may be worth acquiring.

1. Walker, J.F. and D.J. Graczyk. 1993. Preliminary Evaluation of Effects of Best Management-Practices in the Black Earth Creek, Wisconsin, Priority Watershed. Water Science and Technology. 28(3-5): 539-548.

2. Park, S.W., S. Mostaghimi, R.A. Cooke and P.W. McClellan. 1994. BMP Impacts on Watershed Runoff, Sediment and Nutrient Yields. Water Resources Bulletin. 30: 1011-1023.

3. Sutherland, R.A. 1998. Rolled erosion control systems for hillslope Surface Protection: A Critical Review, Synthesis and Analysis of Available Data. I. Background and Formative Years. Land Degradation and Development. 9(6): 465-486

4. Clinginpeel, J.A. 1989. Above and Below Storm Sampling BMP Effectiveness FY 1989 Monitoring Results. Ouachita National Forest. Hot Springs, AR: Ouachita National Forest. 22 p. Unpublished Report.

5. Cook, M.J. and J.G. King. 1983. Construction cost and erosion control effectiveness of filter windrows on fill slopes. Research Note INT-335. Ogden, UT: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station 5 p.

6. Neihardt, C. 1992. BMP Effectiveness Monitoring Using Above and Below Storm Sampling FY 1992. Hot Springs, AR: Ouachita National Forest. 2 p. Unpublished Report.

7. North Carolina Division of Water Quality. 1994. Timbered Branch Demonstration/BMP Effectiveness Monitoring Project. NC Division of Water Quality. Raleigh, NC. 9 p.

This page last updated on 12/13/2011.