RUSLE2 – The Long Lost, or Misunderstood, Savior to Our Stabilization Questions
We are eight years into the current Construction General Permit (CGP), and yet many projects are still having trouble meeting final stabilization requirements. With the inability to terminate permit coverage, project owners are left with increased costs, liabilities, and potentially angry stakeholders. We’ve experienced the difficulties of reestablishing vegetation throughout California’s varying climates. We’ve experienced different permit interpretations from the Regional Boards. We’ve dealt with competing priorities between which type of vegetation should be selected for stabilization. We’ve had instances where City or County compaction requirements make it nearly impossible for regrowth. So, if vegetation cannot be established, is there an alternative solution to demonstrate that a site has been stabilized from future erosion? Enter the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2, or RUSLE2. It just may be the long lost, or misunderstood, savior we’ve been looking for.
RUSLE2 was originally developed by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the University of Tennessee to model rill and sheet erosion on cropland. Over time, RUSLE2 has become a widely accepted erosion prediction tool that may be used to not only aid in the termination of CGP coverage, but may also prove very beneficial in site planning and effective BMP design.
This presentation will briefly describe the origins of RUSLE2. The audience will gain a deeper understanding of the model by looking at each of the parameters affecting the calculation. After the basics are covered, we will look at how RUSLE2 may be used to more effectively design site BMPs and ultimately demonstrate final stabilization in the terms of the CGP. The presentation will also cover some of the model’s shortcomings, such as incomplete databases, modeling slopes in their pre-/post-conditions, and using best engineering judgment that may conflict with calculated results.
The presenter will engage the audience with questions to create a real-time, collaborative experience. Gaining an understanding as to how others have used RUSLE2 and their successes/shortcomings will help to create a sense of community around the model and its real-world applications. Questions may include: Have you used the RUSLE2 method to successfully terminate CGP coverage? At what time during the project did you use RUSLE2? Have you used RUSLE2 to model slopes prior to BMP design? To further engage the audience, the presentation will model a sample slope, describing the methodology behind the input parameters, running the calculation, comparing BMP options, and analyzing project cost savings.
RUSLE2 is a powerful tool that can connect the drops between finding a solution to terminate CGP coverage through more effective site design and ultimately aiding in the reduction of future erosion potential.
Andrew Sidor is a Professional Engineer with over seven years of experience in surface water management, primarily focusing on erosion and sediment control. His background in construction storm water includes plan development, field implementation, third party audits, and overall program development and management for land developers and utility agencies.