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Furbish Company

"SmartSlope: Living Retaining Walls"

"SmartSlope: Living Retaining Walls"



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  • Not just shorelines, but streams and creeks also. All slope stabilization and retaining walls in Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • Bulkheads and hard structures increase nearshore erosion- Over 300 miles of MD shoreline hardened 1978 – 1997Sediment in the Chesapeake Bay and Management Issues: Tidal Erosion ProcessesTidal Sediment Control Task Force of the Sediment Workgroup of the Chesapeake Bay Program Nutrient SubcommitteeMay 2005
  • System designed for:Geographic scalabilityLow capital cost to produceLower carbon footprint (less concrete; less transportation)Larger planting pocket
  • Recipient of Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Funding with endorsement of Md. Dept Natural Resources
  • These walls get engineered in similar manner to any other retaining wall and/or slope stabilization system.
  • Erosion wasn’t an issue here, but property integrity and building foundation was.In addressing structural issues – habitat created, nutrient uptake increased.
  • Plant selection in waterfront condition may be dictated by local authorities. In this picture, Md Dept Natural Resources and Critical Areas Commission specified native, non-invasive wetland plant varieties and asked that no weeding occur so that nature would restore this slope on its own.Erosion completely eliminated. Living/soft shoreline created. Habitat created. Nutrient uptake ?
  • Approximately 5M sf of retaining wall installed annually in metro Baltimore/Washington markets.How much along shorelines?
  • In commercial settings, sedum varieties are often selected because they do well in compromised soil conditions and require little maintenance from year to year. Similar reasoning behind the preference for sedum for living roofs. The larger leafed or draping sedum varieties are more likely to cover the modules. Pictured here is Sedum kamtschaticum.
  • This DOT slope was hydroseeding with native, non-invasives chosen for low maintenance and “no mow” characteristics.

Furbish Company Furbish Company Presentation Transcript

  • Michael Furbish
    Smart Slope, LLC
  • Problem: Erosion, Sediment, Nutrient
    260 acres MD tidal shoreline lost to erosion annually =
    4.7M cubic yards of sediment =
    SAV habitat compromised by degraded water quality
  • Streams & Creeks
    Maiden’s Choice Run Baltimore, MD
  • Property Value
  • Compromised Structures
  • Traditional approaches address stabilization; not ecosystem
  • Smart Slope
    Vegetated Stabilization System
  • South RiverAnne Arundel County
  • Magothy RiverAnne Arundel County
  • South RiverAnne Arundel County
  • Competition
    Soft Slope Systems
    Hard Structures
    Smart Slope combines attributes of both
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • DOT
  • Benefits5M sf SRW installed annually15 miles hardened shoreline annually
    Nutrient Uptake
    100% erosion eliminated
    Sediment in near shore mitigated
    % shoreline/streambed unknown
    Associated with runoff reduction
    Additional biofiltration capacity
    Beneficial impact approximated thus far; research required.
  • Potential SWM Retention/Treatment
    Requires R&D with Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Thank you