About the Project

In February of 2016, a severe landslide released thousands of tons of soil from a mountain and onto the roadway below near Elk City, Idaho. The slide blocked Idaho State Hwy 14, cutting Elk City off from the outside world. The mix of rocks, earth and trees wiped out power lines, leaving the community without electricity. Emergency stabilization and repairs of the mountainside were of critical importance to the residents. The Idaho Transportation Department needed a solution that would both stabilize the soil quickly and hold up to extreme weather conditions.

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Idaho Transportation Department

Industries Served
Government Agency
Solution / Service Type

Erosion Control
Bonded Fiber Matrix, Hydro Mulching, Hydroseeding, Flexible Growth Medium

Sediment Control
Fiber Rolls/Wattles

Project Size
  • 900-foot slope, roughly 30 acres
  • X9000 applied at 4,000 lbs/acre
  • Biosol Forte at 3,000 lbs/acre
  • Humate Acid at 1,000 lbs/acre
  • Mycorrhizae at 20 lbs/acre
  • Native seed mix at 40 lbs/acre
  • Budget: $184,000

Several areas of the 1:1 slope where the landslide occurred were inaccessible to traditional hydroseeding equipment, and traditional erosion control products would not adhere to nor protect the soil. Access to the site was a narrow pioneered road, and the project needed to be executed at a specific time of the year In addition, the high mountain weather was a constant challenge because additional rain was in the forecast. A durable and fast acting product was needed.

How We Solved It

Apex used NaturesOwn X9000 Fiber Reinforced Matrix (FRM), a premium, high-strength 70/30 blend of high-strength Flax and Cellulose fibers combined with organic polymer tackifiers produced by Hamilton Manufacturing, Inc. This product was ideal for the project because it excels in steep slope applications, and its formulation has unique advantages, including higher yield per load, adhesion, and bio-compatibility. Since NaturesOwn X9000 FRM includes only organic-based ingredients and is USDA certified Bio-Based, the Idaho Transportation Department was confident in its use within the pristine alpine ecosystem.

Apex was able to engineer methods to spray the X9000 FRM from nearly 500 feet away. This allowed the crews to apply the matrix in locations other crews or equipment were not able to reach. Using X9000 FRM also enabled the project to use 30-40% less water. This allowed the Apex team to work more efficiently, saving both time and money while meeting a tight deadline in late fall.

Immediately after application, the X9000 FRM was able to withstand the harsh environment of the Clearwater mountains, and help secure the slope against additional slides. The mountainside was fully reclaimed by vegetation by summer the following year.

Project Testimonials

“I had the opportunity to work with Steph Jones and Hamilton Manufacturing Inc. on an emergency slope stabilization project in Elk City, Idaho in 2017. The primary emphasis was to stabilize the soils and revegetate the slopes to prevent material and debris from moving down the slope. John Larsen with Apex Erosion Control was the contractor hired to complete the work and Hamilton Manufacturing provided the Natures Own X9000 bonded fiber matrix product used on the Elk City landslide. Given the challenging slopes, X9000’s unique formulation enabling it to blend smoothly and apply evenly on the slopes was a huge asset. Using X9000 FRM, the project used 30-40% less water vs competitive products. This allowed the Apex team to work more efficiently, saving both time & money while meeting a tight deadline in late fall.

“Steph Jones and John Larsen were very professional and dedicated to providing excellent quality work and efficient productivity. Steph and John’s working knowledge and experience with hydro-applied erosion control products, continues to achieve tangible goals while applying new approaches to rapidly changing circumstances.

“Thanks to Nature’s Own X9000 FRM and the ingenuity of Apex Erosion Control the slide area is revegetated and slopes are more stable than before.”

—Cathy Ford, Idaho Transportation Department

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