Houghton-Berry Residence Bluff Stabilization – El Dorado County, CA

H&K provided geotechnical engineering and environmental consulting services for this private residence located along the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe. The project involved redevelopment of an approximately 5-acre parcel that included a planned pedestrian path along a bluff that had a history of rotational landslide failures. To help reduce the amount of disturbed area, near-vertical cut slope inclinations were designed for the pedestrian path. The stabilization approach had to consider surface erosion and rotational block failure of the bluff face. Methods of mechanical slope stabilization such as benching, shotcreting, or anchoring would have substantially altered the appearance of the bluff and would have likely been unacceptable to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA). The benefits of biotechnical stabilization were considered crucial to the acceptance of the project. With up to 6-foot vertical cuts for the new pedestrian path within sandy lake deposits and the semi-arid Lake Tahoe environment, a biotechnical solution using a combination of launched soil nails and custom pre-vegetated mats was chosen as the stabilization and restoration technique. H&K also provided construction observation and special inspection services during bluff stabilization and redevelopment of the parcel. The project achieved the “Best in Basin” award under the Residential Modification/ Shorezone category by TRPA in February 2011, and was featured on the front cover of Geosynthetics magazine, June/July 2011 issue.