How Natives' Form and Function Allow us to Use Them for Erosion Control

Start Date
End Date
Debunking the myth that native species do not work on Highly Erodible Land (HEL). For so long we have instantly gone to using introduced species when steep slopes are involved. Even today we have government regulations that require the contractor to use introduced species over natives. During the early years of native species establishment, stand failures were a common occurrence. Follow that up with natives’ slow growth habits and bunch forming characteristics that expose bare ground, which has lead people not to trust natives for erosion control. We have explored the use of native species for these areas and have found that they are indeed up to the task. This presentation will look at several project sites that have highly erodible areas where native species are the solution. We will look at each site's project goals and the technique for an establishment that led to their success. Each project site used a different technique to achieve the main goal of erosion control while achieving their secondary goal. Some of the projects' secondary goals include woody suppression, lower maintenance cost, pollinator habitat, and aesthetics. Techniques for establishment include the use of nurse crops, no-till, hydroseeding, and plugs. Following four different partner projects through planning to the establishment and how each one became a success will demonstrate real-world achievements.
Erie, PA
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Horticulture / Plants
Site Planning
Sustainable Development & Design
Water / Stormwater Management
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
(1) Erosion control methods – Learn about the techniques like the use of no-till equipment, erosion blankets, hydroseeding.
(2) Planting design – Learn the characteristics of native plants that aid in erosion control and how planting design will affect your future management levels.
(3) Resource conservation and management: by using BMPs, learn how to use natives for erosion control while achieving conservation goals like pollinator conservation.
(4) Site design and engineering, including materials, methods, technologies, and applications: learn what type of methods and material to avoid, and the application steps for successful planting.
(5) Vegetative management – how to adjust seed mix design, timing, and project goals to allow for better vegetation management on steep slopes.
Robert Hoffman
Website Registration
Course Codes
Ernst Conservation Seeds

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