Terrain and soils

The following potential impacts on soil and terrain are usually identified for activities associated with this type of project (right-of-way clearing, lay-down area cleaning, topsoil salvage and grading):

• permanent loss of soil;

• lowering of soil capability through water/wind erosion, especially on soil with shallow bedrock;

• lowering of soil capability through admixing of top-soil/subsoil; and

• lowering soil capability through compaction and rutting.

Construction of the bridge and road also can cause slope instability, depending on the slope of terrain, texture and moisture content of the material, and vegetation cover. Alternation of the terrain along the road can be caused by erosion from roadways. Soil erosion can result in alternation or loss of soil quality, a process that can subsequently affect vegetation growth. The project causes vegetation removal, thereby exposing the soil and increasing the probability for erosion. Soil admixing may result from improper soil handling procedures, and can affect soil fertility and consequently vegetation growth. Soil compaction results in a reduction of porosity and an increase in soil bulk density and also it effects may cause change in vegetation growth. Spills and leaks during all phases of the project may result in the alternation of soil chemistry and physical properties, which in turn can affect vegetation, surface water, and groundwater quality.

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