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A Different Way to Look at the Soil

We instinctively know that the growth of most plants is impossible without healthy, fertile soil. The key difference between project success and failure lies in the understanding of the importance of a healthy functioning soil community – the millions of microbes that live in each ounce of fertile soil. Without the micro-plants and microorganisms thriving, the soil would become inactive and soon lose its capacity to support plants. Microbes help to bring plant nutrients into available form and make the soil crumbs stable and resistant to erosion. Creating a hospitable environment for microbes in the soil is a critical task for the reclamation practitioner intent on re-establishing sustainable native plant growth on drastically disturbed soils, a task made even more challenging when those disturbed soils reside in harsh environments.

Conventional Seeding Misses the Mark

Conventional seeding practices invariably focus on the solid particles of the soil (both mineral and organic) but pay little attention to re-establishing the teeming populations of minute plants and animals that live within the soil. Most conventional seeding projects lack even the most basic interpretation of a soil analysis to evaluate how the living soil community is functioning. Instead, conventional seeding practices are predominantly concerned with immediate and short-term erosion control, as opposed to securing long-term erosion control through the re-establishment of sustainable plant growth via a healthy and vibrant functioning soil community.

While conventional seeding practices have improved significantly over the past decade, they remain disappointingly resistant to attaining the objective of re-establishing sustainable growth of diverse native grasses, forbs and shrub plant species. The assessment by a State transportation agency roadside revegetation practitioner that “85% of everything we seed is a failure, and I’m being charitable about the outcome of the remaining 15%” is as relevant today as it was a decade ago.

The fundamental recurring issues with the reclamation seeding industry are two-fold: (1) when faced with drastically disturbed soils, a failure to acknowledge and address the critical requirement to resuscitate a functioning soil community; and (2) endemic project implementation shortcomings.

Why the Living Soil Membrane Works

Unlike other ‘band-aid’, topical conventional seeding practices, the Quattro Living Soil Membrane (LSM) technology focuses on jumpstarting the natural processes of soil formation required to re-establish a functioning soil community where micro-organisms, plants, and animals can be reintroduced into drastically disturbed environments.

The living soil membrane works in tandem with nature to set the stage for the natural re-establishment of a site-specific functioning soil community. Unlike conventional seeding that temporarily grows plants with limited long-term success, the living soil membrane nurtures early seral stage native plant species in tandem with mineral balancing and biological amendments as it re-establishes the functioning soil community for long-term viability and success.

Working with nature, the Quattro Living Soil Membrane consistently delivers outstanding, long-term results for native revegetation projects. The results speak for themselves.

Conventional Revegetation Project – Mojave, CA

The results of a conventional seeding practices project implemented on the I-58 Mojave Overpass 2 miles northeast of Mojave township. Three years after seeding, no sustainable plant growth occurred.

Project Conditions

Harsh climate, minimal rainfall, sandy sterile soil with minimal organic matter and high salt content.

Project Miss

No attempt to retain live topsoil or to resuscitate a functioning soil community.

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September 2007
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September 2007

Quattro LSM Revegtation Project – Shell Standard Hill Mine – Mojave, CA

Located 2 miles southwest of Mojave township, this successful Quattro LSM revegetation project delivered superior results to conventional practices. Native revegetation results were achieved with no irrigation, no 16-20-0 fertilizer, no wood fiber mulch, no straw, and no mychorrhizal fungi innoculu.

Project Conditions

Harsh climate, minimal rainfall, sandy sterile cyanide-leached rock ore soil with minimal organic matter and high salt content.

Project Win

Quattro LSM worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat.

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Year 2 – March 2006
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Year 5 – March 2009

Quattro LSM Revegetation Project – Hyundai*Kia Proving Track – Mojave, CA

Located 6 miles northeast of Mojave township, Quattro’s LSM technologies enabled the successful and sustained establishment of native plant growth at the Hyundai*Kia Proving Track. Both project objectives were achieved with this Quattro LSM native revegetation project. Immediate and long-term erosion and dust control were accomplished while at the same time re-establishing the functioning soil community for healthy native plant revegetation outcomes

Project Conditions

Harsh climate, minimal rainfall, sandy soil with minimal organic matter and high salt content.

Project Win

Even after 8 years, the lattice-like living soil membrane in the soil upper surface is still intact and functioning 8 years after installation. Additionally, the project exceeded all permit obligations pursuant to the habitat Conservation Plan designed to mitigate impacts to the habitats for the federally and state protected desert tortoise and Mojave ground squirrel.

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Year 1 – April 2005
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Year 5 – March 2009

Conventional Revegetation Project – I-80 Truckee, CA

Project Conditions

Harsh climate, minimal rainfall, sandy sterile soil with minimal organic matter and high salt content.

Project Miss

Conventional “band-aid” revegetation treatment with straw for erosion control did not work. No attempt to retain live topsoil or to resuscitate a functioning soil community.

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August 2009

Quattro Revegetation Project – I-80 Truckee, CA

Project Conditions

Harsh climate, minimal rainfall, sandy sterile soil with minimal organic matter and high salt content.

Project Win

Quattro LSM worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat where conventional seeding practices had previously failed.

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August 2009

Quattro LSM Revegetation Project – Cripple Creek Mine, Colorado

Project Conditions

Steep slopes with rocky sterile soil and minimal organic matter. Short growing season with medium precipitation from snow and summer rains.

Project Win

Quattro LSM worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat.

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Year 0 – June 2003
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Year 1 - August 2004

Quattro LSM Revegetation Project – Beartooth Pass Highway, Montana

Project Conditions

Harsh winters, high altitude with a very short growing season, and medium precipitation from snow and summer rains. Steep slopes with drastically disturbed, rocky sterile soil with minimal organic matter.

Project Win

Quattro LSM worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat.

The Western Lands Highway Division (WFLHD) worked with the Quattro team to re-establish native plant growth on a series of highway construction projects throughout Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Many of the projects were on Scenic Highways and Byways located in extreme climates with poor soils, steep slopes and difficult topography. The results speak for themselves… several of our highway projects won national awards for excellence.

Allan Stockman, Senior Environmental Engineer
Western Federal Lands Highway Division
Federal Highway Administration

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Year 1 - September 2009
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Old highway successfully reclaimed to high alpine meadow – September 2009

Quattro LSM Revegetation Project – Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, Idaho

Project Conditions

Drastically disturbed, sterile soil with minimal organic matter. Low precipitation from snow and summer showers.

Project Win

Quattro LSM worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat.

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Year 1 - July 2004
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Year 1 - July 2004

Quattro LSM Revegtation Project – Shell Oil, Pinedale Wyoming

Project Conditions

Drastically disturbed, sterile soil with minimal organic matter. Low precipitation from snow and summer showers.

Project Win

This award-winning Quattro LSM project worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat on drilling pad project sites. Revegetation results were achieved with no irrigation, no fertilizer, no wood mulch, no compost, no straw, and no mycorrhizal fungi innoculum.

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January 2010
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Year 2 - July 2011

Quattro LSM Revegtation Project – Flowery Trail Scenic Byway, Collville Washington

Project Conditions

Steep slopes with drastically disturbed, sterile soil with minimal organic matter. Low precipitation from snow and summer showers. High altitude with short growing season.

Project Win

This Quattro LSM project worked with nature in successfully re-establishing a healthy functioning soil community and native revegetation habitat. Revegetation results were achieved with no irrigation, no fertilizer, no wood mulch, no compost, and no straw.

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Year 0 - October 2002
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Year 1 - July 2003
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