Blog posts of '2016' 'March'

Preventing Erosion on Roads and Trails

 Spring runoff can wreak havoc on the easement road through our Kettle Falls property.  After burying my truck to the axles following the winter of 2010, I was determined to find a solution.  I recalled seeing rubber water bars installed on jeeping trails to prevent erosion.  After a little research I found this:



Remember that high-faced bars are barriers to wheeled traffic. On trails that serve wheeled traffic, use either reinforced grade dips or rubber waterbars instead of traditional waterbars. Bikers do not like waterbars because of the "crash factor." It is important to place rubber waterbars such that wheeled vehicles cannot go around them (creating a water channel around the waterbar). Be sure to cut the rubber belting so that it bends easily under the wheel. A stiff rubber bar at a 45° to 60° angle can cause wrecks (Figure 23).

Rubber Belting Water Bar

Nailing and Cutting Detail 1


Nailing and Cutting Detail 2


Figure 23--Rubber belt waterbars are good choices on trails used by wheeled vehicles. They are not good as reinforced grade dips.


 I installed mine at the recommended 45 degree angle and anchored them in place by driving 2.5 foot long sections of 1/2 inch rebar on both sides.  They have endured five years of vehicle traffic and the occasional bulldozer.  The heavy equipment used to contruct a fireline for last summer's Renner Lake Fire finally did them in.  Here my materials list for their replacements (per waterbar):

(2 ea.) 2" X 6" X 16' pressure treated lumber

(1 ea.) 1/2" X 12" X 16' section rubber conveyor belt (I scored some used stuff on Craigslist)

(2 ea.) 1/2" X 10' sticks of rebar (cut into 2.5' sections)

(1 lb.) 3 1/2" X 10 exterior screws (this is more than enough)


  • I have not been able to find any lumber intended for direct burial so I expect to replace them in 5 years.
  • Rubber conveyor belt can be cut using a circular saw.  I cut mine nearly all the way through with my worm drive and then finished the rest with a utility knife.

  Ready For Assembly

Lumber and Conveyor Belt


Conveyor Belt Sandwich

Conveyor Belt Sandwich


Exterior Screws

Exterior Screws


Screws and Rebar

Screws and Rebar


Finished Water Bar

Finished Water Bar


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