Eric M. Davis

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Leslie Hopkinson

Committee Co-Chair

Avinash Unnikrishnan

Committee Member

YooJung Yoon


The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) utilizes the establishment of grass as a temporary and permanent management practice to mediate the effects of erosion on highway construction sites. The disturbed conditions of reclaimed slopes often present challenges for vegetation establishment and long-term cover. Seventy percent cover of vegetation by area is desired. This research evaluated the effectiveness of the current reclamation practices at right of way locations. The status of vegetation cover was considered to identify site factors that contributed to low and high ground cover along roadsides and medians. Thirty-three roadside and median study sites incorporated variability in soil type, elevation, vegetation establishment and cover, seed mixture, slope, aspect, time since planting, and climate. Vegetation cover was measured, and species distribution was identified. Slopes, aspects of the sloping face, and elevations were recorded. Soil samples were tested for nutrients, minerals, texture, and pH. Approximately 50% of the test sites met the 70% cover criteria. Locations of the worst cover (<50%) had soils with high soluble salt content (0.36-1.54 mmhos/cm) or low organic matter values (< 2%). Vegetation cover was dominated by tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and crownvetch (Coronilla varia L.), two species that were included in the current seeding mixture and are considered invasive. To further promote revegetation success and persistence, both maintenance and site specific seed mixtures are needed.