The purpose of erosion control is to prevent the movement of topsoil and sediment and to assist vegetation establishment. Unfortunately, some erosion control methods, while protecting the soil, can cause damage to wildlife and the environment. Wildlife safe materials are those that are 100% biodegradable, made from natural fibers, and use a loose weave (often called leno weave) that allow animals to wiggle free. To minimize wildlife entanglement and plastic debris pollution, choose temporary erosion and sediment control products that either do not contain netting, or that contain netting manufactured from 100% biodegradable non-plastic materials such as jute, sisal, or coir fiber. Degradable, photodegradable, UV-degradable, oxo-degradable, or oxo-biodegradable plastic netting (including polypropylene, nylon, polyethylene, and polyester) are not acceptable alternatives. All netting materials used should have a wildlife-safe, loose-weave design with movable, non-welded joints between the horizontal and vertical twines, allowing the twines to move independently and thus reducing the potential for wildlife entanglement. Erosion control blankets and mats should be staked down to the ground and secured with wooded stakes and have the edges buried. Netting that is elongated (rectangular), not square, reduce wildlife entanglements. Avoid the use of silt fences reinforced with metal mesh or plastic mesh. When no longer required, temporary erosion and sediment control products should be promptly removed, usually as soon as vegetation establishes in the soil.
If you have questions about which erosion control products will effectively work for any given location, you should consult with a civil engineer or the erosion control product (ECP) manufacturer.
In summary, avoid these uses:
- Plastic netting of any type, including:
- Degradable, photodegradable, UV-degradable, oxo-degradable, or oxo-biodegradable plastic netting
- Polypropylene, nylon, polyethylene, and polyester
- ECPs that are left in place beyond the immediate need for erosion control
- Silt fences reinforced with metal mesh or plastic mesh
Instead, try these wildlife friendly uses: