Re-grading and Terracing
Our Goal: Promote better projects along the coast that balance the use of Lake Erie as a shared natural resource along with the property owners’ need for lakefront erosion protection and the benefit of access to the lake.
Re-grading a bluff/bank is a relatively low cost means of stabilizing the bluff/bank. In the simplest form, re-grading can involve the movement of bluff material so that the slope of the bluff is more stable than the original slope due to the reduction of gravity’s forces on the bluff slope. A slightly more intensive process involves the creation of terraces along the bluff face, often with switch-backs so that the terraces can act as pathways to the lake. Re-grading is typically lower in cost than that of a structural solution to erosion control along the bluff.
A key item with re-grading is that the material cut or removed from the bluff should be moved from the bluff slope and disposed of on the upland. Material removed from the bluff should typically not be placed into the lake as that will result in damage to water quality and habitat. Material should generally not be used to fill areas of a bluff or bank during re-grading. Such placement of fill during the re-grading process will likely not aid in stabilizing the bluff slope and may increase erosion rates when the newly placed, less compact material erodes.
Re-grading of the bluff or bank may not be possible in cases where a proper bluff angle cannot be created because structures on the property are located too close to the top of the bluff.
After the re-grading or terracing has occurred, it is best to vegetate the bluff/bank. Vegetation will aid in stabilizing the bluff by removing water from the soil and reducing the amount of surface water runoff over the face of the bluff/bank.
To maintain a re-graded or terraced bluff, periodic monitoring of the area is necessary. Look for unstable areas, which may include recent slumps, saturated areas, or areas that have lost vegetation. Correction of any issue areas may include additional re-grading of the slumped area, installation of a drainage system, or planting of vegetation.
Depending on the scale of the project, some property owners may be able to conduct re-grading or terracing work themselves. In the case of modifying the entire bluff or bank, it is typically better to hire a contractor, as they will have the expertise and better access to proper machinery for the project. Maintaining the re-graded or terraced area may be a task the property owner can handle, especially in the instances of planting vegetation. Should more extensive re-grading be required for maintenance a contractor will be necessary.
Re-grading and Terracing Essential Information
Function: Stabilizing the bluff/bank.
Appearance: Reduced grade of slope or a terrace along the bluff/bank face. Bluff/bank should be planted with vegetation.
Materials: Equipment used to re-grade will not be left on site. Plants to re-vegetate the bluff/bank after it's been re-graded/terraced.
Issues: Monitoring of the area is necessary. Correction of any issue areas may include additional re-grading of the slumped area, installation of a drainage system, or planting of vegetation.