Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020ND091B

Imprinting and hydromulch for soil erosion reduction and plant establishment in semi-arid soils disturbed from oil and gas development

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-02-27 End Date: 2021-02-25
Total Federal Funds: $6,875 Total Non-Federal Funds: $21,673

Principal Investigators: Thomas DeSutter

Abstract: Recent oil and gas industry growth in western North Dakota has presented unintended, but frequent disturbances of soil in need of reclamation. Being in a semi-arid climate, reclamation can often result in expanses of bare soil severely susceptible to erosional forces such as wind, and runoff and sediment transport. Current methods to combat erosion on oil and gas reclamation sites involve wattles, mulches, or creating microtopography through imprinting the land to decrease the velocity of runoff. While wattles can trap some sediment, hydromulch is able to cover the entire soil surface, and create a non-crusted seal. Microtopography via imprinting has been used successfully, but remains unstudied in ND, and the effects of imprinting in tandem with hydromulch is greatly understudied anywhere. Further, both proposed methods benefit seed germination and plant establishment and may be highly useful for the future protection and reclamation of soil. These findings suggest investigating hydromulch and imprinting together in western ND can help ascertain guidelines for successful reclamation to be used by landowners, reclamation companies, or government officials. Ultimately, if reclaimed land is expected to be productive once again, reclamation must incorporate strategies that promote the recovery of soil functions, and plant productivity.