Mitigating trail erosion at the Osborn Preserve

Mitigating trail erosion at the Osborn Preserve

Project Date
2014 to 2017






Project Topics

Funding Sources


Use of hiking trails can increase erosion, soil compaction, and transmission of Sudden Oak Death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, from surface runoff. We conducted a survey to identify sections of trail at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve (upper Copeland Creek watershed) with excessive erosion. We selected the worst sections of trail to establish best management practices and evaluate their effectiveness.

(Advisor: , SSU Preserves, Land Management, Environmental Studies and Planning Internship)

Nichols and Wharton 2014 - At Fairfield Osborn Preserve, rainwater flows across or down various sections of trail during heavy rain events causing incising of the trail, which contributes to soil loss, erosion, and water quality issues; furthermore, Sudden Oak Death pathogen Phytophthora ramorum , is transmitted via flowing water. Hikers tend to walk around the incised trail causing compaction of soil along the trail. Riparian restoration through trail maintenance can direct flowing water off-trail, and stop water from flowing downhill along a trail. On March 22, 2014, student land managers prescribed a trial maintenance treatment to a portion of the Marsh Trail, and applied the treatment the following day. This treatment includes addition of stairs to the downhill section, channel infill in deepest portions, diversion of the trail and water channel, and revegetation of compacted soil. Data includes mapped locations of high risk portions of trails, and soil loss data for the project site located on Marsh Trail. Our results are specific to our project site. We are not fulfilling a scientific procedure; however, we are using our treatment tools as land managers to address issues on this trail, and we are extrapolating facts based on our literature reviews to identify problems to suggest solutions for future land managers and Land Stewards at Fairfield Osborn Preserve.

Bruzzone 2015 - Trail Erosion Mitigation at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve.

Hagerl et al 2016 - Fairfield Osborn Preserve restoration assessment.

Freed and Nickolin 2017 - Addressing Erosion at SSU’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve.


Project Results
Title Format Download Students
"Mitigation erosion on trails at SSU's Fairfield Osborn Preserve" poster Jennifer Nichols, Noel Wharton
"Trail Erosion Mitigation at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve" poster Katherine Bruzzone
"Fairfield Osborn Preserve restoration assessment" poster Nick Hagerl, David Wentworth, Josh Brown- Herrera, Martina Schnitzler, Oscar Lucario
"Addressing Erosion at SSU’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve" poster Makayla Freed, Nick Nickolin