Soil provides a foundation for all other life. It determines which wild plants flourish, which animals survive, and which crops grow. That doesn’t change on a construction site. How the soils are treated before, during, and after construction have repercussions long after the backhoes pull out. For the Amazing Space project, we implemented a variety of strategies to maintain healthy soils.
Construction fence: The construction fence (pictured above) keeps machinery within the project of the boundary. Heavy equipment, dumpsters and stockpiles of rock and supplies destroy the existing vegetation and compact the soil. Keeping that impact confined to a small area protects the surrounding forest and prairie.
Topsoil: The topsoil, full of rich organic material, was scraped off the entire area within the boundary and stockpiled. The topsoil pile was immediately planted with a cover crop, to protect it from erosion. As work finishes in different areas within the project boundary, those areas will also be planted with a cover crop. At the end of construction, this soil will be re-spread 6 inches thick over the project area, creating a place for new plants to root in healthy soil.
Silt fence: To prevent heavy rains from washing silt and sediment out of the project site and into the neighboring prairies, ditches, and creeks, erosion socks and silt fences were established. They are monitored weekly and after rains for any problems that may occur.
These basic steps will ensure the area around the project remain healthy, and that the soils on the site after the project will support everything from the edible forest to the pollinator garden.