Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products Webinar

  • Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products
  • 12/10/2015

Presenter(s)

  • Mr. Rob Ament

  • Western Transportation Institute
  • Montana State University

Abstract

A research and development project initiated by the Montana Department of Transportation and supported by CESTiCC is exploring potential woolen roadside reclamation products using waste wool as a principal fiber. Successful highway right-of-way (ROW) management following construction, reconstruction, and other disturbances in the ROWs requires the creation of the proper environmental conditions conducive to the successful establishment and survival of reclamation plantings as well as the control of soil erosion and surface runoff. Potential woolen roadside reclamation products have many promising attributes that may make them superior to existing standard materials, such as higher water retention rates, biodegradability, and nutrient composition - sheep wool consists of 15-17 percent nitrogen and has other plant nutrients that become available as it decomposes. Different wool materials, such as erosion control blankets (ECBs) and fertilizer pellets are produced and deployed elsewhere in the world, currently these products are not available in the US market. This project is developing and testing, in conjunction with Montana wool mills and a Minnesota erosion control blanket manufacturer, potential woolen ECBs, silt fencing and using wool as an additive to compost. The project is measuring vegetative establishment and/or soil erosion using putative U.S. wool products in comparison to standard roadside reclamation analogs such as a coconut-straw ECB, plastic silt fence and wood fiber compost. The preliminary results from the first year of development and deployment of materials will be discussed in this presentation. Eventually, after two growing seasons, the project will conduct cost-benefit analyses to see whether it is sensible to further develop any successful woolen products or if any are ready for immediate deployment.

Speaker Bio(s)

Rob Ament, M.Sc. – Biological Sciences, Road Ecology Program Manager, Western Transportation Institute – Montana State University. Rob has more than 30 years of experience in ecology, natural resource management, environmental policy and organizational development. At WTI, Rob leads our efforts to research, monitor and develop solutions to minimize the impacts of roads on the natural environment – wildlife, aquatics, vegetation - and to develop new technologies. He is the principal investigator of several research projects and oversees 8 staff in three offices in western North America that are working on 20 active research projects.

He was an expert panelist for the development of a synthesis report on new technologies for environmental surveys via the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. He is on the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, a member of the Stakeholders Advisory Group for the Western Governors’ Association’s Wildlife Corridors and Crucial Habitats Initiative, in 2013 he was invited to judge the FHWA’s biennial Environmental Excellence Awards and was elected to Montana State University’s Sustainability Advisory Council.

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  • Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC)
  • PO Box 75 5900
  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-5900