All you’d want to know about ‘wattles’

The in basket: H.W. Mock writes, “Earlier this year, work was done alone Highway 166 to remove brush and grass/weeds along the drainage ditch at the bottom of the slope where the water runoff from the hill is caught before going onto the roadway.

“When that work was done, numerous ‘tubes,’ which look like rolled up grass and weeds were placed across and into the drainage ditch and staked down with wooden stakes.  Dozens of these tubes are located in the drainage ditch from Kitsap Marina  to Port Orchard Boulevard.

“Since they were first put in, I have wondered what they really are made of and what their intended function is,” he said. “I have never seen this type of thing before.  Can you tell me anything about them?”

The out basket: Port Orchard Public Works Director Mark Dorsey said succinctly in October when I asked about the overall project that the tubes are called ‘wattles’ and are “temporary erosion/sedimentation control devices.” I misspelled them ‘waddles’ at the time.

“The city had the wattles placed as part the erosion/sedimentation control plan during the ditch cleaning activities,” Mark said in elaborating to answer Mr. Mock’s question. “Subsequent to that work, we have decided to leave them in place….and monitor their effectiveness in isolating sediment build-up for ease of future sediment removal.

“As long as the wattles do not create an unintended consequence, we will probably let then remain.”

Mark referred me to a Washington State Department of

Transportation Web site for information about what they are made of. Typical in complexity in such regulations, it says, “Wattles shall consist of cylinders of biodegradable plant material such as weed-free straw, coir, compost, wood chips, excelsior, or wood fiber or shavings encased within biodegradable netting.

“Wattles shall be a minimum of 5 inches in diameter. Netting material shall be clean, evenly woven, and free of encrusted concrete or other contaminating materials such as preservatives. Netting material shall be free from cuts, tears, or weak places and shall have a minimum lifespan of 6 months and a maximum lifespan of not more than 24 months.

“Wood stakes for wattles shall be made from untreated Douglas fir, hemlock, or pine species,” it said.  Wood stakes shall be 2 by 2-inch nominal dimension and 36 inches in length.”

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