The use of rolled erosion control products (RECPs) for minimizing soil erosion

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


RECPs, Rainsplash, Bench-scale, Index tests, Water absorption, Rolled erosion control products

Subject Categories

Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Engineering


The need to provide erosion control on bare soil slopes and channels is a critical issue that spans the globe. Rolled erosion control products (RECPs) have proven themselves to be effective in reducing soil losses and have taken the place of many traditional technologies. Despite their widespread use, engineers are often given little guidance on the design and selection of RECPs beyond maximum allowable slopes and shear stresses. Many different types of RECPs often meet the requirements for a particular set of site conditions. Similarly, C-factors, which incorporate the effects of ground cover in the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), are not provided by all manufacturers and the values that are provided are for particular soils and rainfall and runoff erosivities. RECPs can vary significantly in basic fiber properties, index properties, and laboratory and field performance.

This study is the first of this kind that systematically looks at basic fiber properties (fiber morphology, lignin content, moisture sorption, and water uptake rates), index properties (mass per unit area, thickness, light penetration, water absorption, swell, and stiffness), bench-scale performance (rainsplash erosion and vegetation enhancement), and field performance (Grout Brook demonstration project). The testing program consisted of the evaluation of 13 different RECPs that are representative of the more than 120 different products available.

The results of this study demonstrate that RECPs are effective in minimizing soil losses in comparison to both bare soil and vegetated soil conditions, providing C-factors ranging between 0.00 and 0.26 for the RECPs tested. The use of vegetation in combination with the RECPs further reduced C-factors to 0.00 to 0.12 for the RECPs tested. Vegetation was found to provide RECPs with an additional layer of protection to further reduce the effective openings and kinetic energy of raindrops.

Differences in RECP performance were found to be a function of the amount of ground cover they provide and their ability to adhere to the underlying soil surface. Statistical analyses indicate that light penetration (LP) and total water uptake at 60 minutes (TWU60) are important properties. The following equation has been proposed based on the results of this study:[Special characters omitted.] Design recommendations to assist designers and engineers in the selection of RECPs are provided based on the results of this study.


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